A Fillmore County man can sue a farmer for injuries he sustained after he hit an escaped cow wandering on a highway, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
Shane Reasner was driving at night when he hit a black cow that had broken through a closed pasture gate. The district court threw the case out based on the testimony of farmer Ross Goldsmith and the fact that he didn’t knowingly let his cattle roam. The court also concluded it was unforeseeable that the cattle would escape because Goldsmith inspected the gates weekly.
Goldsmith had previously testified that he closed the pasture gate that night, but the cow went through the outer road gate, which was assumed to be open. He also said only one of the 25 cattle and calves got out. And he said only one other cow had broken out of the fencing since 1958.
But Travis Dickinson, who lives near the farm and was riding with Reasner during the accident, said he was aware of cattle escaping three times in 2010 and 2011.
Reasner and the cow were hurt, according to the ruling.
State law prohibits livestock owners from letting animals “stroll, wander, rove or ramble at will without restraint or confinement.” The ruling said that the district court shouldn’t have dismissed the case because a jury would have had opposing facts that they would have had to sort through.