Equine Law and Horse Sense

I want to take this opportunity to make horse owners and all involved in equine-related businesses aware of a terrific new book available from Julie Fershtman, a leading authority in equine law.

 

The book examines many legal issues related to equine law. More than 350 pages including such topics as:

  • equine activity liability acts                       
  • liability of horse owners, stables, & more
  • insurance
  • veterinary malpractice
  • attractive nuisance liability
  • land use and zoning
  • contracts,

Parental Equine Waivers Are Enforceable in Utah

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

 

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

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

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

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

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.

Multiple Waivers and Multiple Business Names Cloud A Trail Ride Case

By Doyice Cotten

Brenda Martz-Alvarado was injured when dismounting from a trail ride. She sued the property owner, Tomi Truaz, and the owners of the trailride, Forrest and Georgia Riddle (dba Grand View Horse Tours).

Truaz was running a business at the property operating under the name Grand View Horse Tours. Martz-Alvarado purchased a trail-riding experience through a third party website and as part of securing her reservation, she agreed to a waiver of liability.

“that being around horses is inherently dangerous” and that she would assume all risks.

Parental Waivers – Waivers Signed by Parents on Behalf of a Minor! Are they Enforceable in Your State?

By Doyice Cotten

At one point, maybe 25 years or so ago, it was not unusual to hear or read ——-, “Waivers are not worth the paper they are printed on!” That time has come and gone; now virtually every professional in sport, recreation, and fitness recognizes that in most states, waivers can provide valuable protection against significant financial loss as a result of injury lawsuits.

In fact, courts in about 45 states enforce well-drafted liability waivers that are voluntarily signed by adult participants in sport,

Utah Supreme Court Reaffirms: Parental Waivers Are Not Enforceable in Utah

 By Doyice Cotten

Levi Rutherford, a minor and a highly skilled skier, suffered a brain injury when he skied into a patch of thick, wet, machine-made snow and crashed at a ski resort d.b.a. The Canyons. His parents sued alleging negligence and premises liability (Rutherford v. Talisker Canyon Finance Co., LLC, 2019).  Defendants claimed the suit was barred by the waiver signed by Rutherford’s parents and by the Utah ski statute.

Of interest in this post is the Utah Supreme Court ruling as to whether parental waivers are enforceable in Utah.