Visitor Question

Wrongful Death of Pet Cat…

Submitted By: Kendia (Van Nuys, California)

My kitty had Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). We ordered a medicine from the UK that could give him a chance to survive or at least live longer. We were expecting it 2 weeks ago but it got stuck in US Customs in New York.

I called and they told me that this could be because it may need FDA approval. I called the FDA and they contacted Customs and made an officer in the airport try to find the medicine to send it right away, but he failed. They had it somewhere but they didn’t know where exactly.

So on the 25 of January my kitty died in my hands – just 2 days before we eventually got our medicine. I know it’s a cat but I still want to sue US Customs and Border Protection for that. What can I do? Do I even have a chance? What if this was a human’s medicine?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Kendia,

Well, this is both difficult and sad to convey to you as my heart goes out for the loss of your pet.

Unfortunately, unless there is negligence of some kind or another, liability will not rest.

In order to find the US Customs officer liable, you would need to show that he somehow breached a duty to you – this will be difficult because delays are routine and even expected when it comes to international shipments.

You would literally have to show that losing a package is so outside the bounds of reasonableness, that it is clearly negligent to do so and this will be very difficult to do.

The other issue is that, assuming the medicine reached you, there is no guarantee that it would have saved your pet’s life – it’s speculative, and though sad, is an argument you might likely hear. My apologies again for the loss of your cat.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: September 3, 2011

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