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Can You Release Equine Activity Liability Act Liabilities? The Answer May Surprise You

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 ›

Categories: Liability

Montana Amends Its Waiver Law

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 ›

Categories: Liability

Do “As Is” Clauses in Sales Contracts Prevent All Lawsuits?

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 ›

Categories: Contracts, Sales/Disputes

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 ›

Categories: Liability

Can You Repossess a Horse When the Buyer Fails to Pay?

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 ›

Categories: Contracts, Sales/Disputes

What to Consider Before Organizing an Equine Event

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 ›

Categories: Insurance, Lawsuit, Liability

Your State Enacted or Amended its Equine Activity Liability Act – Are the Changes Retroactive?

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 ›

Categories: Lawsuit, Liability

Legal Aspects of Boarding at a Friend's Barn

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 ›

Categories: Boarding, Insurance, Liability

Liability from Horses in Parades: Injured Spectator Sues Parade Participants and Sponsor

Memorial Day weekend was a time for parades. Horses in parades have brought injuries and litigation.     

Several years ago, an injured Iowa parade spectator filed a lawsuit after being struck by a pony in the parade. The parade spectator wanted to cross the street while the parade was in progress. Before an organized group of horses approached, she perceived a “break” in the parade and then crossed the street while carrying a lawn chair. The chair spooked one of the ponies in the parade. This pony, at the time, was being ridden by two children, ages 4 and 8, but nobody led the pony on foot. When the pony spooked, it bolted, threw the children, and knocked over the spectator.  Read More ›

Categories: Lawsuit, Liability

Stable Rules: What's on YOUR Wall?

Should your stable have rules? Stable rules list the various policies and regulations governing activities on the property. In developing and posting them, stables try to establish limits for customers and visitors, set expectations, and promote safety. Stables have every incentive to develop, post, use, and update rules.  Read More ›

Categories: Boarding, Contracts, Liability

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Our Equine law blog (and its author) in the news!

Julie Fershtman, author of our popular and prolific Equine Law Blog, was interviewed 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.

Julie Fershtman’s Recent and Upcoming Equine Law Speaking Engagements Include:

National Conference on Equine Law in Louisville, Kentucky on April 29, 2020. Topic will be on Waivers/Releases of Liability Involving Minor Participants. 

U.S. Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado on December 10, 2019. Topic will be on Equine Liability. 

IRMI Emmett J. Vaughan Agribusiness Conference (“AgriCon”) in Sacramento, CA (April 2019), and Richmond, VA (June 2019) and in Des Moines, IA (September 2019), on topics of “Equine Activity Liability Acts” and “Equine Mortality Insurance Disputes.”

National Conference on Equine Law in May 2019 in Lexington, KY, on the topic of “Equine Activity Liability Act Updates” and liabilities involving hosting of equine clinics. 

Agricultural Claims Conference in Kansas City, MO, in March 2019 on topics of “Loose Livestock Liabilities.”

2018 American Bar Association Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, on “Equine Mortality Coverage and Disputes.”

November 2018, American Horse Council webinar on “Equine Liability.”

Honors & Recognitions

Equine lawyer, Julie Fershtman, has received these prestigious equine industry awards from respected equine organizations:

"Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award" - American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Law Section Animal Law Committee

"Distinguished Service Award" - American Youth Horse Council

"Industry Service Award" - Michigan Equine Partnership

"Catalyst Award"- Michigan Horse Council

"Outstanding Achievement Award" - American Riding Instructors Association 

"Partner in Safety Award" - American Riding Instructors Association 

"Associate Service Award" - United Professional Horseman's Association

"National Partnership in Safety" Award" - Certified Horsemanship Association 

What our Equine Law Services can Provide

Handling breach of contract, fraud/ misrepresentation, commercial code, and other claims involving equine-related transactions including purchases/sales, leases, mare leases/foal transfers, and partnerships.

Litigating disputes in court or through alternative dispute resolution (arbitration, mediation, facilitation).

Defending equine/farm/equestrian industry professionals,  businesses, and associations in personal injury claims and lawsuits.

Drafting and negotiating contracts for boarding, training, sales, waivers/releases, leases, and numerous other equine-related transactions.

Representing and advising insurers on  coverage and policy language as well as litigation;

Advising equine industry clubs and associations regarding management, rules, bylaws, disputes, and regulations.

Representing some of the equine industry's top trainers, competitors, stables, and associations.

Counseling industry professionals, stable managers, and individual horse owners. 

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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