For this assignment, you are being asked to research Massachusetts law so that you can locate at least ONE case and only ONE statute which are directly on point for the problem set forth below. Read the case and statute carefully and use analogy and distinction to assist you in applying their reasoning to our case. Then, write an essay using the TRAAC method to answer the question asked and explain why you would answer it that way, using the case you have located as precedent and the statute to explain the law.
THE PROBLEM:Congratulations! You have been hired as a paralegal by the firm of Bolger, Haley, and Lahr in Emerald City, Massachusetts. Your boss, Attorney Frank Marvel, needs your help in researching the law for a new client, Dorothy Gale. Dorothy, a college student, rents a room from Elvira Gulch, where she lives with her small terrier dog, Toto. Toto is good-natured, gets along well with children and has never been a problem. On Wednesdays, Dorothy has a very heavy class schedule, and finds it very difficult to get back to Ms. Gulch’s boarding house to walk Toto; therefore, she and Ms. Gulch have come to an arrangement: for an extra $20 a week, Ms. Gulch has agreed to take Toto for a walk every Wednesday afternoon. Although Ms. Gulch does not like dogs, and occasionally has difficulty getting Toto’s cooperation in wearing his walking harness, the arrangement has been satisfactory for the past six months; as Ms. Gulch puts it, “Land sakes! Twenty dollars is twenty dollars! I’ll take it, my pretty, and your little dog for a walk too!” On Wednesday, January 30th, however, Ms. Gulch was struggling to buckle Toto’s harness so she could take him for his walk, when Toto turned and bit her hand, drawing blood and causing tendon damage for which Ms. Gulch needs surgery. Ms. Gulch is suing Dorothy for her injuries.
After interviewing Dorothy, Frank (your boss) has decided to research the question of whether Ms. Gulch can be considered a keeper of the dog; if Ms. Gulch can be considered to be the dog’s keeper, she will probably not be successful in suing Dorothy under the Massachusetts dog bite statute.He remembers that there was a Massachusetts Appeals Court case between 1996 and 2002 that discussed “keepership” in detail, and he wants you to find at least that case, the dog bite statute, and to write an analysis of whether Ms. Gulch is likely to be defined as a keeper of the dog in this case.
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