University of Vermont AAHS

Savo v. Kazlauska


Connecticut Superior Court
1999 WL 73800
February 5, 1999


Summary of Opinion

Plaintiff Savo was injured when he was attempting to load a horse he had just purchased into a trailer.  He had purchased the horse from defendant Kazlauska.  When they could not load the horse, they called the other defendant, veterinarian Calaceto.  Calaceto moved for summary judgment on the ground that the lawsuit was a veterinarian malpractice claim and there was no expert named to testify about the applicable standard of care.  However, the trial court denied that motion on the ground that the claim was for ordinary negligence, not veterinary malpractice, and the naming of an expert is therefore not required.

Text of Opinion

The Plaintiff Larry Savo brought the present action as a result of injuries allegedly sustained during the purchase of a horse.

 Savo attempted to purchase a horse from the defendant, Victor Kazlauska. At the conclusion of that transaction, neither Savo nor Kazlauska could load the horse into a trailer. The defendant, Dr. Donald J. Calaceto, DVM, was called to the scene in order that he examine the animal. During the examination, the horse reacted to external stimuli and allegedly kicked Savo.

 Savo has alleged that Dr. Calaceto, "Failed to take reasonable and proper precaution regarding the safety of the plaintiff and others while he conducted [an] examination of the horse." Dr. Calaceto has moved for motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff's cause of action which sounds in veterinarian malpractice fails to disclose an expert regarding the applicable standard of care and alleged breach thereof. Savo has responded that the complaint was not based upon medical malpractice but rather a general negligence claim. Specifically, Savo counters "Dr. Calaceto's skills, background, experience and ability to treat any animal is not an issue in this case."

 "A motion for summary judgment is designed to eliminate the delay and expense of litigating an issue where there is no real issue to be tried." Wilson v. New Haven, 213 Conn. 277, 279, 567 A.2d 829 (1989). As noted by the Connecticut Supreme Court in Hertz Corporation v. Federal Insurance Company, 245 Conn. 374, 380, 713 A.2d 820 (1998).

 (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Doty v. Mucci, 238 Conn. 800, 805 06, 679 A.2d 945 (1996).

 A "material fact" is a fact that will make a difference in the result of the case. See Hammer v. Lumberman's Mutual Casualty Co., 214 Conn. 573, 578, 573 A.2d 699 (1990). Finally, "In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the trial court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party ... The test is whether a party would be entitled to a directed verdict on the same facts." (Citations omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) Connell v. Colwell, 214 Conn. 242, 246 47, 571 A.2d 116 (1990).

 In the present case, the defendant's motion for summary judgment "is properly granted if it raises at least one legally sufficient defense that would bar the plaintiff's claim and involves no triable issue of fact." Perille v. Rebestos Manhattan Europe, Inc., 196 Conn. 529, 543, 494 A.2d 555 (1985). The plaintiff has alleged a cause of action based upon simple negligence, not medical malpractice. Therefore, Dr. Calaceto's motion for summary judgment is denied.

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