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.
A lawsuit followed, and the injured spectator sued the parade sponsor as well as the owner of the pony, raising arguments under Iowa's Equine Activity Liability Act. (As we explained in this blog a few years ago, Iowa’s law was amended to change from an “equine” statute to a “domesticated animal” statute.) The essence of the lawsuit was that the defendants wrongly allowed children to ride a pony in the parade without a lead rope held by an adult on foot. The lawsuit raised the exceptions in Iowa’s then-existing law for “reckless” conduct; and "faulty or defective equipment” based on the lack of a lead rope attached to the pony. As an alternative argument, the spectator argued that Iowa’s Equine Activity Liability Act should not apply to the case based on an exclusion for a "spectator who is in place where a reasonable person who is alert to the inherent risks of domesticated animal activities would not expect a domesticated animal activity to occur.”
Dismissing the case, the trial court held that the failure to have the pony led with a lead rope did not qualify as "reckless conduct.” The court also rejected and dismissed the plaintiff’s claim under the Iowa Equine Activity Liability Act for "faulty or defective equipment” because it found no equipment flaw – rather, the plaintiff was complaining that a lead rope was not used. Finally, the Court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the Equine Activity Liability Act was inapplicable and held that any reasonable person who crossed the street in the face of the oncoming parade of horses certainly had to expect a "domesticated animal activity” taking place there. When the plaintiff appealed the dismissal, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed.
The case was: Snider v. Fort Madison Rodeo Corporation, 2002 WL 570890 (Iowa App. 2002)(unpublished).
Julie Fershtman is considered to be one of the nation's leading attorneys in the field of equine law. A frequent author and speaker on legal issues, she has written over 400 published articles, three books, and has lectured at seminars, conventions, and conferences in 29 states on issues involving law, liability, risk management, and insurance. For more information, please also visit www.fershtmanlaw.com and www.equinelaw.net, and www.equinelaw.info.View All Posts by Author ›
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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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