“Jane,” a horse owner found her dream property. The house was just her size. Never before was a horse stabled on the property, but there was a storage barn that, Jane thought, could easily be converted into a horse barn, and the surrounding land could be fenced for pasture. Jane bought the property. Soon after, she built a stall in the barn, set up fencing, and moved in her horse.
Within a few weeks, however, a serious problem occurred. Jane received a notice from the city ordering her to remove her pasture fencing because it violated the local zoning ordinance. That ordinance required fences to be set back a specific distance from the property line. Adding to the problem, once Jane read the ordinance, she discovered that compliance with it would reduce her pasture to the size of a dog run. Her plans for a stable on her property were doomed. Read More ›
Categories: Zoning & Land Use
Never did the stable owner expect to be sued. A horse in his care became injured in the pasture, with a large wound, but the stable owner thought he had it under control. He dressed the wound, gave the horse a penicillin shot using old medication in the barn refrigerator, left the horse in the stall for a few days to rest and recover, and gave the horse only quick checks in the days that followed. There was no need to call a veterinarian, he thought. Several days later, however, the horse’s condition worsened to a very serious point, and by the time a veterinarian was summoned, the horse had to be put down. It turned out that the cut was more severe than the stable owner thought, and the penicillin was unsuitable for the horse. At the very end, a surprised horse owner received the call that the horse was gone. Read More ›
Courts in most states have shown a willingness to enforce liability waivers/releases – as long as the court was convinced that the documents were properly worded and signed. In the 47 states with Equine Activity Liability Acts (all states except for California, Maryland, and New York), can a pre-incident waiver/release, signed by the claimant, waive a claim based on the statute?
Over the years, courts in several states have explored this question. Most courts have answered “YES.” Read More ›
Last year, a new law took effect in Montana that allows waivers/releases to be enforceable, except against claims of gross negligence or against defective equipment claims. The new law, Montana Code Anno. § 27-1-753, states: Read More ›
Equine sales agreements sometimes include the words "as is" and "with all faults.” Sellers use these phrases with the hope of preventing buyers from bringing claims and lawsuits in an effort to reverse the sale. Do these words stop all sales-related lawsuits?
The answer is “no.” Read More ›
Trainer Liabilities for Horses in Their Care and How Trainers and Horse Owners Can Protect Themselves
Dan hired a trainer, Sarah, to train his horse and haul it to a few shows during the year. While under Sarah’s care, however, Dan’s horse colicked, and a veterinarian had to put the horse down. Should Sarah, the trainer, be responsible for paying for the loss of Dan’s horse and his vet bills?
What the Law Expects of a Trainer’s Services
When a person, such as Dan, leaves a horse with a trainer for care, keeping, and training, the law generally requires the trainer to use “reasonable care” in carrying out these tasks. This means that the trainer must use the degree of care that a prudent and careful trainer would use in similar circumstances.
Clients like Dan who bring claims against their trainers for injuries to or losses of their horses must prove that the trainer somehow fell short of this standard, that the trainer's failings were the legal cause of the horse’s demise, and that the trainer should be legally accountable for damages that resulted. Read More ›
Can a horse seller repossess a horse if the buyer has failed to pay in full? We receive this question frequently, but the answer is more complicated than you might think. Read More ›
Your club or association wants to organize a horse show. Or, your club wants to hold a clinic and invite a nationally known trainer to offer tips on training, showing, or horsemanship skills to members and guests, many who bring horses to the event. These events, your group believes, will boost publicity, increase membership, and generate extra money.
Things can go wrong, however. Is your club prepared for these: Read More ›
When an equine activity liability statute is amended, are the amendments retroactive to the date when the law was initially passed? Or, do the amendments take effect going forward?
If an equine-related accident occurs before an equine activity liability act becomes the law, can the court apply the (after-enacted) law?
Courts around the country have examined these issues. This article addresses two cases. Read More ›
Cindy and Sam have been long-time friends and once rode together. Now, as Sam recovers from a serious illness, his barn has been empty. He once enjoyed looking out at the horses in his pasture. He approached Cindy with an offer to stable her horses on his property for free, as long as she takes care of her horses at her own expense.
People sometimes enter into arrangements like this, but what are the legalities? What can Cindy and Sam do to protect themselves? Read More ›
Our Equine law blog (and its author) in the news!
Julie Fershtman, author of our popular and prolific Equine Law Blog, was interviewed this week by the State Bar of Michigan. The interview, which called Fershtman "Lawyer-Blogger," discussed our Equine Law Blog. We truly believe that this blog is the nation's most active blog serving the equine industry on equine law topics, and we thank you for visiting it. Read more here.
Honors & Recognitions
Congratulations, Julie! We're proud to share that Julie Fershtman has received two prestigious awards.
On April 13, 2013, she received the American Youth Horse Council's 2013 "Distinguished Service" Award. As the award itself states, she received it "[i]n recognition of years of dedicated service to the American Youth Horse Council and tireless efforts to touch the lives of youth involved with horses." For more information about the American Youth Horse Council, please visit www.ayhc.com/.
On May 7, 2013, Julie received the 2013 "Industry Award" from the Michigan Equine Partnership for her work over the years supporting legislation to promote and protect the Michigan equine industry. For more information about the Michigan Equine Partnership, please visit www.miequine.com/.
RECENT EQUINE LAW COURTROOM VICTORY
We're pleased to share that Julie just won a case in Michigan where she defended a boarding and training stable that was sued by a visitor who was injured in the barn aisle. Julie cautions that this case might have been avoided altogether if the stable required every visitor to sign its waiver/release of liability. (Julie, interestingly, drafted that stable's release document years ago but the stable only presented it to customers.) Make sure that your release is well-worded and complies with the laws of your state.
"The Seller's Contract Includes an "As Is" Disclaimer – Now What?" - Desert Mirage Magazine, August 2013
Win Equine law Books!
We're always on the lookout for good article and update ideas for the Equine Law Blog. Please share yours! We'll give the sender of best tip of the month a free copy of Julie Fershtman's books, EQUINE LAW & HORSE SENSE and MORE EQUINE LAW & HORSE SENSE. Click here to send your ideas. [For more info on these and other publications written by Julie Fershtman, please visit www.equinelaw.net and www.equinelaw.info or call her directly at (248) 785-4731.]
Large Step Forward for the Horse Industry
We applaud the American Horse Council (www.horsecouncil.org) for its national marketing initiative for the horse industry. The AHC joined together ten national associations and large corporate industry stakeholders to make this happen. We await its marketing plan, which will propose ways to help people become more interested in horses and equine activities, either as participants or spectators.
THE NATION'S MOST SOUGHT-AFTER EQUINE LAW SPEAKER
Did you know Julie Fershtman has spoken at the American Horse Council Annual Meeting, Equine Affaire, Midwest Horse Fair, Equitana USA, US Dressage Federation Annual Meeting, North American Riding for the Handicapped (now PATH International) Annual Meeting, American Morgan Horse Association Annual Meeting, American Paint Horse Association Annual Meeting, US Pony Clubs, Inc.'s Annual Meeting, All-American Quarter Horse Congress, American Youth Horse Council Annual Meeting, American Riding Instructors Association Annual Meeting, CHA Annual Meeting, and numerous others? Consider signing her up for your convention. Contact Julie.
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