One of the more unusual cases to find its way through the court system is the case of Donald Tarantino vs. Cavaliers Operating Co., LLC. Mr. Tarantino was at the game with a friend when they asked the Cleveland Cav’s mascot, Moondog, to pose for a photograph with Taratino’s friend. They wanted Moondog to hold a cut-out when he posed for the photograph. For those who have attended Cavs games, Moondog is known to jump on a trampoline-vault and catapult himself skyward before he dunks a small basketball. Apparently, Moondog was a bit too frisky when he grabbed the cut out from Mr. Tarantino, and he accidentally wrenched back Tarantino’s right hand, causing a ruptured tendon in the right hand.
Mr. Tarantino sued the Cavs and Moondog for negligence. The trial court threw the case out before it was tried to a jury because the court found that it was not foreseeable that Moondog would injury Tarantino and thus, no duty was breached. The trial court also said that there was no evidence that Moondog’s actions had caused the injury, despite a doctor’s letter that indicated that this was the likely source. The court of appeals disagreed and found that there was enough evidence for a jury to find that Moondog may have been careless when he grabbed for the cut out. The court of appeals found that the doctor’s letter was enough to establish some evidence (if believed by a jury)that would support the claim.
The court of appeals sent the case back to the trial court for further proceedings. Although dogs are a man’s best friend, Moondogs may not be.