Parental Equine Waivers Are Enforceable in Utah

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By Doyice Cotten

Utah law regarding the enforcement of parental waivers has been clearly established since the Hawkins v. Peart Utah Supreme Court decision in 2001. The Court ruled that it was against public policy for a parent to release the prospective negligence claim prior to or after an injury.

In a 2013 case (Penunuri v. Sundance Partners, LTD), however, the Utah Supreme Court examined the Utah Equine Statute passed in 2003.

Colorado Court Gives Reasons for Enforcing an Equine Waiver

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By Doyice Cotten

In a recent Colorado equine injury lawsuit (Eburn v. Capitol Peak Outfitters, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106 236), an inexperienced rider was injured when her saddle rotated to the side and caused her to fall from the horse.  The court examined the waiver she had signed and concluded that Capitol Peak Outfitters (CPO) was protected from liability for such injuries.

The court declared the waiver clearly and unambiguously expresses the parties’ intent to preclude CPO’s liability for negligent acts.

WAIVERS/RELEASES IN EQUINE ACTIVITIES

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We are fortunate to have a new article by the lady who is perhaps the foremost expert in equine law – Julie Fershtman. While the article relates specifically to equine waivers, waiver law is the same regardless of the sport or activity.

By

Julie I. Fershtman, Esq.

Introduction

Stables, race tracks, show managers, horse trainers, riding instructors, and individual horse owners often seek ways to reduce their liability risks. 

Landowner Liability Under Equine and Recreational Use Statutes

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Holly C. Rudolph, J.D. has produced a product that can be of great interest to those in sport, recreation, and fitness industries.  She has collected all Equine Activity Liability Statutes as well as all Recreational Land Use statutes and put them in one convenient place. sport lawyers, sport law professors, and recreation professors should find this an invaluable resource.

Holly is a recent graduate of Lewis and Clark Law School, a Dean’s Fellow,

Provider Not Liable Due to Equine Activity Liability Statute

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This recent case is intended to complement and supplement the excellent article Landowner Liability Under Equine and Recreational Use Statutes written by Holly Rudolph (also published today on this site). This illustrative case,  summarized and abridged by Doyice Cotten, clearly illustrates the importance of state Equine Activity Liability Statutes to providers of equine activities. The reader is invited to read the case in its entirety for more information.

PERRY v. WHITLEY COUNTY 4-H CLUBS INC.

Indemnification Language Matters in Two 2010 Equine Cases

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This article by Doyice Cotten illlustrates that the language used is crucial to the enforcement of indemnification agreements.

Two recent equine cases illustrate the importance of the indemnification language used in liability waivers. In Polechek v. Schina (2010 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 674), the owner of a horse that was running loose around the track in the wrong direction attempted to keep her horse from escaping from the track.  She moved into a gap in the rail of the track and shouted “Whoa.” The horse ran over her causing substantial injury.

Some Important State Waiver Statutes

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By Doyice Cotten

Most state waiver law comes from court rulings but many state legislatures have passed statutes regarding liability waivers. Some statutes have a strong impact upon waivers in the state; others are less important, often affecting waivers for only one sport. A few of each are listed below:

High Impact Statutes
Louisiana

La Civ Code Ann art 2004 states:

Any clause is null that, in advance, excludes or limits the liability of one party for causing physical injury to the other party.

Who We Are

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Doyice J. Cotten is an emeritus professor of sport management at Georgia Southern University where he taught graduate and undergraduate courses in sport law and risk management. He manages his own writing and risk management consulting business, Sport Risk Consulting.

During his professional career, he has been active in many professional organizations in the areas of sport management and physical education. Dr. Cotten served as president of the Sport and Recreation Law Association. He also served as president of the Georgia Association for Health,

Agritourism Liability: A Question in Georgia

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By Doyice Cotten

Recently I stopped at an operation in South Georgia in which the operator charges one dollar each for patrons to enter a fenced area.  There patrons can view an assortment of animals including a horse, a donkey, a bison, a water buffalo, goats, and a few more animals. After I paid the admission, my wife and I took my grandson in. At the entry, a sign was posted. I was familiar with equine and other sport liability statutes,

Sport Safety Statutes Can Affect the Effectiveness of Liability Waivers

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By Doyice Cotten

Most states have enacted at least one of what are sometimes called sport safety acts or shared responsibility statutes (e.g., equine, ski, whitewater rafting) intended to define or limit the liability exposure of operators of selected activities.

Some of these statutes hold the operator to a duty of ordinary care. When they do, a waiver cannot protect the operator in the event of ordinary negligence. Other statutes prescribe a list of specific duties of the operator.