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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

Should Exculpatory Agreements Relieve Liabilities Founded on an Equine Activity Liability Act? American Bar Association - TIPS Animal Law Committee Newsletter, Fall 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 82 posts in Liability.

The Power of “Open Range” Laws

A small number of states have “open range” districts where land-owners are legally permitted to allow their animals to roam at large, subject to restrictions set by state or local law.

Generally, motorists in open range districts have little or no recourse if they are injured in a collision with loose livestock, but exceptions can exist. In one case from Idaho, the landowner was immune from liability in a wrongful death action when a motorcyclist collided with a loose calf along the roadway in an “open range” district and was killed. The motorcyclist’s estate sued the landowners and the animal’s owners. They argued, in their defense, that they were immune from liability because the incident occurred in an area that was designated as “open range” under Idaho law [Idaho Code § 25-2118]. The trial court agreed and dismissed the case.

The case proceeded to an appeal where the motorcyclist’s estate challenged the “open range” classification. The Idaho Supreme Court upheld dismissal of the case and found that the “the ‘fence out’ rule prevails in Idaho, and that where a herd district has not been established, cattle are customarily permitted to roam." Nationwide, most states do not have “open range” districts. Each state differs. In any vehicle/livestock collision matter, make sure to review the applicable law carefully.

Categories: Liability, Zoning & Land Use

Equine Law Changes in Connecticut

Equine Law changes afoot in Connecticut! The Connecticut legislature just curbed its Supreme Court in a law that trumps Vendrella v. Astriab (the "vicious and dangerous" case) and determines that domesticated horses are not vicious or dangerous.


Categories: Insurance, Liability

Julie Fershtman Scores Another Equine Law Victory

Julie Fershtman, a shareholder at Foster Swift, secured summary judgment in favor of her client, an equine boarding and riding stable, on April 2, 2014.

The plaintiff accompanied his granddaughter to her riding lesson at a private stable and watched her ride from the observation room. When the lesson ended, he entered the barn aisle to ask the riding instructor questions about saddles. The plaintiff claimed that while standing in the barn aisle, with his back to the aisle, an unknown person led a horse too close behind him that brushed against his back, causing him to lose his balance and fall down. He claimed that he sustained significant injuries as a result. Read More ›

Categories: Boarding, Liability

Liability Releases and Equine Activity Liability Acts: Utah's Highest Court Addresses How One Affects the Other

Since the equine activity liability acts were enacted, a question has arisen as to whether a person can legally sign away claims under them. According to the majority of courts across the country addressing the issue, the answer is "yes." Read More ›

Categories: Liability

Upcoming Webinar You Won't Want to Miss

Julie Fershtman is the speaker for tomorrow's webinar through the Certified Horsemanship Association entitled: "Risk Management – What You Need to Know about Liability, Contracts and Releases."

Click here for more information
(http://cha-ahse.org/store/pages/219/CHA_Monthly_Webinars.html )

Categories: Contracts, Liability

Does An Equine Activity Liability Act Apply? Take Our Test

State equine activity liability laws generally, but not always, apply to equine activity "participants" who are “engaged in an equine activity” at the time of injury. Over the years, cases have addressed whether people injured on the grounds of an equine activity qualify as “participants.” Let’s take a look at two noteworthy cases addressing the issue and find out whether you agree with the courts. Read More ›

Categories: Liability

Michigan's Equine Activity Liability Act: What's Next?

Horses, by their nature, present risks because they are large, powerful, unpredictable animals that act on instinct. Indeed, a horse with no dangerous or aggressive history nevertheless has the potential to hurt anyone who is riding, driving, handling, or near it. Injuries bring the possibility of litigation.

The Michigan Equine Activity Liability Act is one way in which liability is limited or controlled. Click here to read an article, published in the January Foster Swift Agricultural Law Newsletter, on Julie's thoughts of the Michigan Equine Activity Liability Act, the Act's history and its purpose. To subscribe to our Agricultural Law Newsletter, click here.

Categories: Liability

How Do Equine Activity Liability Act Warning Requirements Differ?

Nationwide, 46 states – all but California, Maryland, Nevada and New York – have some form of an equine activity liability act. All of these laws differ, but approximately 31 require sign posting, usually, but not always, by “equine professionals.” The sign posting requirements vary considerably among the laws. Here’s a sampling of how the laws differ. Read More ›

Categories: Liability

How Long Does a Stable’s Equine Liability Release Last?

We are often asked how long a waiver or release “lasts.” The answer depends on several factors, such as:

  • Did the document specify that it was only intended to be valid for activities taking place on the day when it was signed?
  • Does a state law supply a time limitation during which the document is valid?
Read More ›

Categories: Liability

Are all Horses "Vicious or Dangerous"? More on the Connecticut Supreme Court Case

Many in the industry have been discussing the Connecticut Supreme Court case of Vendrella v. Astriab Family Limited Partnership. Oral arguments took place recently, and we await an opinion.   Here's a discussion of the case. ›

Categories: Liability