Strickland v. Medlen (Opinion)Annotate this Case
The Medlens' dog Avery escaped the family's backyard and was picked up by animal control. Before the Medlens could retrieve Avery, shelter worker Carla Strickland mistakenly placed Avery on the euthanasia list, and Avery was put to sleep. The Medlens sued Strickland for causing Avery's death and sought damages for Avery's "intrinsic value." The trial court dismissed the suit with prejudice, concluding that Texas law barred such damages. The court of appeals reversed, becoming the first Texas court to hold that a dog owner may recover intangible loss-of-companionship damages in the form of intrinsic or sentimental-value property damages. At issue before the Supreme Court was whether emotional-injury damages were recoverable for the negligent destruction of a dog. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that under established legal doctrine, recovery in pet-death cases is, barring legislative reclassification, limited to "loss of value, not loss of relationship."