The Case of the Terrible Tiger
Brunhilde and Joy are entertainers who have enjoyed a very successful career. For the past twenty years they have been wowing Las Vegas audiences with their magic act which features “big cats,” including lions, tigers and panthers. They have performed their act before millions of fans of all ages, including many celebrities and a few U.S. Presidents. In the past few years, their act has averaged around $40 million a year gross — nearly $1 million per week.
Brunhilde and Joy were starting to get on in years. They were both into their fifties but still very active with the animals, and their act was thriving.
Working with large, wild animals is always dangerous, but Bruhilde and Joy trained the animals well. They didn’t use cages. They brought the animals out on leashes. Aside from a few minor incidents with the animals biting each other or mildly misbehaving, there were no problems with the big cats until one fateful night when they were performing their act to a sold-out crowd at Nero’s Palace Casino.
Joy noticed that the 400-pound “star” tiger, Archibald, was a bit edgy just before the night’s performance. During the performance, she had to discipline the tiger repeatedly by pulling on his collar and tapping his nose with the microphone. Then Joy tripped on one of her high heels. Brunhilde and the audience gasped in horror as they watched Archibald grab Joy by her neck and drag her offstage. Although Archibald’s jaw was strong enough to break Joy’s neck, he apparently grabbed her gently. Her neck wasn’t broken, but the bite resulted in two large puncture wounds. She lost a great deal of blood which resulted in a stroke.
Joy spent several months in the hospital recovering from her wounds. She had to have physical therapy to recover from the effects of the stroke. Brunhilde had to cancel the act, because she could not find a replacement for Joy. Besides she was too disheartened and worried about her friend to be able to continue without her.
a. Does Joy have a case against the casino? What claims can she make? What defenses does the casino have?
b. What if an audience member had been injured by the tiger? How would that change the case against the casino?