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Equine Immunity Statute Defeats Tort Claim for Person Injured by Horse
Description Appeals court upheld the dismissal of a suit brought by a person who was injured by the sudden movement of a horse while visiting a friend. The state's equine immunity statute eliminates liability for negligence for injuries that are the result of risks inherent in equine activities.
Topic Torts
Key Words Negligence; Equine Immunity Statute
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Perry owned and trained Belgian horses that he entered in horse-pull competitions. To train them, he had them pull a home-made sled. He asked a friend, Moldenhauer, for some help. His sister, Kangas, went with her brother to Perry's place. Perry and Moldenhauer sat on a seat on the sled while a horse pulled it; Kangas stood on the sled behind the seats. When the horses stopped, Kangas let go of the seat back to open a beer, the horses pulled forward and she fell off the sled, sustaining injuries. Kangas sued Perry for negligence in the design of the sled. He claimed immunity under the Wisconsin equine immunity statute. The trial court agreed and dismissed the suit. Kangas appealed.
Decision Affirmed. The statute states that "a person ... is immune from civil liability for acts or omissions related to his or her participation in equine activities if a person participating in the equine activity is injured or killed as a result of an inherent risk of equine activities." Inherent risk specifically includes the unpredictable nature of horses and collisions with various objects. That is what happened here, as the horses moved unexpectedly and Kangas fell.
Citation Kangas v. Perry, 2000 WL 1460215 (Ct. App., Wisc., 2000)

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