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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/.


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.


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 79 posts in 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

Finding Low Cost Legal Services in Difficult Financial Times

We receive numerous calls and e-mails from people in the midst of serious legal issues who are unprepared for, or unwilling to undertake, the expense involved in hiring a lawyer. For example, a trainer could be faced with a lawsuit arising out of a sales agency. An individual horse owner might want to “free-lease” her gelding to a friend and want a contract that protects her as much as possible in the situation.

How can people who cannot afford a lawyer seek legal services at low, or no cost? Read More ›

Categories: Contracts, Employment, Liability

My Risk Management Program is My Liability Release

Well-intentioned horse owners and equine professionals sometimes expect a well-written release of liability (sometimes known as a “waiver”) to be their sole weapon in their efforts to avoid liability. Acting on the mistaken belief that those who sign releases cannot bring lawsuits, some people even consider cancelling their liability insurance policies. Read More ›

Categories: Liability

Equine Liability Coverage – Test Yourself, and Protect Yourself

Do you understand what equine-related liability insurance policies do? Many people in the horse industry learn the shortcomings of their liability insurance policies after something goes wrong.

To gain a better understanding of how these policies work, here are examples of some occurrences: Read More ›

Categories: Insurance, Liability