SW Legal studies in Business

Statute Limits Liability for Horse-Related Activities
Description

Appeals court held that the Indiana Equine Activity Statute provided immunity for a club sponsoring horse activities against suit brought by a club member for injuries suffered as a result of being kicked by a horse. The statute prohibits suit for risks inherent in horse activity.

Topic Torts
Key Words

Negligence; Assumption of Risk; Horses; Equine Activity Statute

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Perry, who owned seven horses, was a member of the 4-H Club’s Equine Advisory Board. The Club provides instruction to children participating in the Club’s horse events. One competition was held in a show barn at county fairgrounds. Horses were lined up and young children walked the horses around a route. One horse was not cooperative, so Perry went to assist the child with the horse. While doing so, another horse kicked Perry in the knee causing injuries. She sued the 4-H Club for “allowing horse activities to be conducted on premises unsuitable for such activities.” The horses had not been in the show barn before, so were more likely to be spooked. The Club was granted summary judgment; Perry appealed.

Decision

Affirmed. A negligence action is precluded in the Equine Activity Statute if the injury resulted from an inherent risk of equine activities, and the facts do not fit one of the exceptions to immunity provided by the statute. The fact that a horse was spooked, which resulted in another horse kicking, is not unusual. It is an inherent risk in dealing with horses. Perry was aware of the dangers involved with horses and knew of the Equine Activity Statute. Notices about the dangers of horses were properly posted as required by the statute.

Citation Perry v. Whitley County 4-H Clubs, ---N.E.2d--- (2010 WL 3214672, Ct. App., Ind., 2010)

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