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Foster Swift: Equine Law

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.

Other Articles

"The Seller's Contract Includes an "As Is" Disclaimer – Now What?" - Desert Mirage Magazine, August 2013

"What Mare Owners Should Look for in a Typical Horse-Breeding Contracts." - America's Horse Daily, September 14, 2012

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.

Showing 178 posts by Julie I. Fershtman.

Washington Court Dismisses Equine Injury Lawsuit against Backyard Horse Facility Owner

Private, Backyard Facility Could Qualify as an “Equine Activity Sponsor” Under Equine Activity Liability Law

As of July 20, 2015, 47 states– all but California, Maryland, and New York – have passed some form of an Equine Activity Liability Act ("EALA"). These laws sometimes share common characteristics, but all of them differ. Most follow a pattern that prevents an “equine activity sponsor,” “equine professional,” or possibly others from being sued if a “participant” who “engages in an equine activity” suffers injury, death or damage from an “inherent risk.” For example, Tennessee’s EALA, T. C. A. § 44-20-103, states:

Except as provided in § 44-20-104, an equine activity sponsor, an equine professional, or any other person, which shall include a corporation or partnership, shall not be liable for an injury to or the death of a participant resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities. Except as provided in § 44-20-104, no participant or participant's representative shall make any claim against, maintain an action against, or recover from an equine activity sponsor, an equine professional, or any other person for injury, loss, damage, or death of the participant resulting from any of the inherent risks of equine activities. 

The laws typically include a list of exceptions, many of which this blog has explained. Read More ›

Categories: Boarding, Lawsuit, Liability, News & Events

Cheap Horse – Expensive Problem

An online ad shows a beautiful horse for sale, and the buyer is drawn in. The ad describes the horse as a perfect show horse, unflappable trail horse, kid-friendly, easy-keeper, and free of vices. The price is low, and the buyer rushes to make the purchase. The buyer makes the purchase sight unseen and sends money to the seller, a total stranger. The buyer sought no veterinary pre-purchase examination and no drug screen. The parties had no written contract.

After the horse arrives, serious problems become apparent. The horse might show none of the characteristics that were so glowingly advertised. Registration papers might not exist. The horse might be seriously lame or ill. The horse might be downright dangerous or untrained. When the buyer complains, the seller refuses to rescind the deal.

Certainly, buyers in these situations may have options available to them for legal recourse. But most buyers will keep the horse rather than invest in legal fees.  Read More ›

Categories: Contracts, Sales/Disputes

Michigan’s Equine Activity Liability Act Amended to Remove “Negligence” Exception for Professionals and Sponsors

On June 23, 2015, Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law an amendment to Michigan’s Equine Activity Liability Act (“EALA”).  The law was amended by Public Act 87 of 2015.  You can find it here. 

The Law Before Amendment

The new amendment targets a portion of Michigan’s EALA involving its exceptions –sections of the law on which people can file equine-related personal injury lawsuits. As enacted in 1994, Michigan’s EALA included four exceptions: Read More ›

Categories: Liability, News & Events

Nevada Becomes the 47th State With an Equine Activity Liability Law

47 states now have an Equine Activity Liability Act. These laws, in various ways, limit or control liabilities associated with equine activities. Nevada is the latest state to pass such a law. On May 27, 2015, Nevada’s Governor approved SB 129. Here’s a link to this new law. Read More ›

Categories: Liability, News & Events

Dangerous Land and the Equine Activity Liability Acts

Will “Dangerous Land” Keep Your State’s Equine Activity Liability Act From Protecting You? Julie's recent article, published in the latest Equine Chronicle, addresses this important liability issue. Take a look: http://www.equinechronicle.com/dangerous-land/

Categories: Liability

California Appellate Court Dismisses Wrongful Death Lawsuit After Farrier Dies While Shoeing Horse

A California farrier (horseshoer) with 45 years of experience was hired to trim a horse’s hooves. While working in an outdoor corral, the horse knocked him down, and his head hit a rock. He died from his injuries, and his estate sued the horse owner who also owned the property. The trial court dismissed the case, and the California Court of Appeals agreed. Read More ›

Categories: Lawsuit, Liability

Liability Release Dismisses Wrongful Death Lawsuit Involving California Teenager

As this blog has reported in the past, courts nationwide have disagreed as to whether parents can legally release away personal injury claims of their minor children.

In a decision issued earlier this year, a California appellate court found that a horse trainer/riding instructor's release of liability, signed by a mother as well as her teenage daughter, was enforceable. Accordingly, the court held that a lawsuit against the trainer (who was also referred to as a "coach") arising from the teenager's death, was properly dismissed.  Read More ›

Categories: Lawsuit, Liability, News & Events

Is a Loose Girth or Cinch “Faulty Tack” Under an Equine Activity Liability Act?

  • You take your friend on a trail ride, but an hour into the ride the saddle slips and your friend falls off. He sues.
  • Two hours into a scenic trail ride, a horse provided by a public riding stable walks up a hill, but the saddle slips and spooks the horse. The guest falls and files a lawsuit.

If any of these incidents occurred in a state with an Equine Activity Liability Act (“EALA”), could the injured rider base his or her lawsuit on the “faulty tack or equipment” exception? *

Over the years, courts have examined the issue of what qualifies as “faulty tack or equipment.” In these two cases, the courts were convinced that a loose cinch or girth does not. Read More ›

Categories: Liability

Can You Release Away An Equine Activity Liability Act Claim?

In April 2015, Julie Fershtman travels across the country for two speaking engagements regarding the Equine Activity Liability Acts (“EALAs”), including the National Conference on Equine Law. A lawyer with hands-on experience involving these laws nationwide, Julie will discuss recurring issues. Forty-six states now have some form of an EALA (except for California, Maryland, Nevada and New York).

One recurring issue is whether an injured person’s claims under an EALA can be released away. The majority view is that waivers/releases can potentially bar EALA claims. Courts in these states (as of 3/2015) have issued rulings to this effect: Read More ›

Categories: Liability, News & Events

What You Didn’t Know About Equine Insurance

You’re about to apply for equine mortality insurance on your new horse. What you might not know is that these policies are unique, and some features of this type of insurance might surprise you. For example: Read More ›

Categories: Insurance