senate Bill S795

2011-2012 Legislative Session

Establishes parameters of civil liability for persons involved in equine activities

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 04, 2012 referred to judiciary
Jan 05, 2011 referred to judiciary

S795 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A10014
Current Committee:
Law Section:
General Obligations Law
Laws Affected:
Add Art 18-B ยงยง18-301 - 18-305, Gen Ob L
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Session:
S2412, A6032

S795 - Bill Texts

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Enacts the "equine activity safety code act"; provides that an equine activity sponsor, an equine professional, or any other person, which shall include a corporation or partnership, shall not be liable for an injury to or the death of a participant resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities, except under certain circumstances.

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BILL NUMBER:S795

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the general obligations law, in relation to the liability
of persons involved in equine activities

PURPOSE:
This bill establishes guidelines for the conduct of participants,
sponsors and professionals involved in the sport of horseback riding;
to educate the public as to the inherent risks in the sport of
horseback riding so as to minimize the risk of injury to persons
engaged in the sport of horseback riding; to promote safety in the
horseback riding industry, and to preserve the financial
sustainability of the equine sponsors and equine professionals
engaged in the horseback riding industry.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
The General Obligations Law is amended by adding a new Article l8-B
which creates the Equine Activity Safety Code. This bill defines not
only those risks inherent to the sport for which liability protection
will be afforded, but also establishes affirmative acts for which
stable owners, activity sponsors, and equine businesses are
responsible. This legislation requires detailed posting and
notifications of persons engaging in equine activities concerning the
inherent risks of the sport, and mandates that participants recognize
these risks and accept responsibility for themselves when they choose
to participate.

JUSTIFICATION:
Horseback riding as a sport and industry has enjoyed increasing growth
and prominence in New York. In conjunction with this growth, the
issue of liability has become a critical concern to the equine
industry, not only in New York State, but nationally. Large claims
paid by insurers to persons injured in accidents involving horses has
driven the cost of liability insurance for stable owners and sponsors
of recreational horse activities to intolerable levels. In many
cases, horse farmers are risking the loss of their farms simply
because they cannot afford the premium or cannot obtain coverage at
all. At least 40 States have passed, or are considering, legislation
similar to this proposal. The passage of this bill will take New York
one step closer to its goal of preservation of farmland and open
space by allowing horse farms to exist and operate, while at the same
time protecting the rights of persons injured due to the negligence
of another. This bill in no way establishes caps or limits on
insurance awards, but rather seeks to define situations where the
participant must accept responsibility for the inherent risks of
participating in horse-related activities.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2009-2010: S.2412/A.6032 Referred to Judiciary
2007-2008: S.4509/A.11618 Referred to Judiciary
2006:S.6821 Referred to Judiciary
2003-2004: S.171/A.1325,A.7007 Passed Senate

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:


None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
Ninety days after enactment into law.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                   795

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 5, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  YOUNG  -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary

AN ACT to amend the general obligations law, in relation to the  liabil-
  ity of persons involved in equine activities

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Legislative  intent.  The  legislature  hereby  finds  that
horseback riding is both a major recreational sport and a major industry
within  the  state  of New York. The legislature further finds: (1) that
horseback riding,  like  many  other  sports,  contains  inherent  risks
including,  but  not  limited to, the risks of personal injury, death or
property damage, which may be caused by the  propensity  of  equines  to
behave  in ways that are not always controllable by the participant; the
unpredictability of an equine's  reaction  to  such  things  as  sounds,
sudden  movements,  and  unfamiliar  objects,  persons or other animals;
surface or subsurface  conditions;  collisions  with  other  equines  or
objects;  and  the  potential  of  a  participant  to act in a negligent
manner; (2) that it is appropriate, as well as in the  public  interest,
to  establish  certain  duties  and  obligations  of equine sponsors and
equine professionals relative to the  safety  of  the  horseback  riding
public;  and  (3)  that  it  is  also necessary and appropriate that the
public become apprised of and understand the risks inherent in the sport
of horseback riding so that they may make an informed decision of wheth-
er or not to participate in horseback riding notwithstanding the  risks.
Therefore, the purpose and intent of this act is to establish guidelines
for the conduct of the participants, sponsors and professionals involved
in the sport of horseback riding; to educate the public as to the inher-
ent risks in the sport of horseback riding so as to minimize the risk of
injury  to  persons engaged in the sport of horseback riding; to promote
safety in the horseback riding industry; and to preserve  the  financial

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD03399-01-1

S. 795                              2

sustainability  of  the equine sponsors and equine professionals engaged
in the horseback riding industry.
  S  2.  The  general obligations law is amended by adding a new article
18-B to read as follows:
                              ARTICLE 18-B
                       EQUINE ACTIVITY SAFETY CODE
SECTION 18-301. SHORT TITLE.
        18-302. DEFINITIONS.
        18-303. LIABILITY OF PERSONS INVOLVED IN EQUINE ACTIVITIES.
        18-304. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY.
        18-305. POSTING AND NOTIFICATION.
  S 18-301. SHORT TITLE. THIS ARTICLE MAY BE CITED AND SHALL BE KNOWN AS
THE "EQUINE ACTIVITY SAFETY CODE ACT".
  S 18-302.  DEFINITIONS. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS ARTICLE, THE  FOLLOW-
ING WORDS OR PHRASES SHALL BE DEFINED AS FOLLOWS:
  1.  "ENGAGES  IN AN EQUINE ACTIVITY" MEANS RIDING, TRAINING, ASSISTING
IN THE VETERINARY TREATMENT OF, DRIVING OR BEING  A  PASSENGER  UPON  AN
EQUINE,  WHETHER MOUNTED OR UNMOUNTED, OR VISITING OR TOURING OR UTILIZ-
ING AN EQUINE FACILITY AS PART OF AN ORGANIZED EVENT OR ACTIVITY, OR ANY
PERSON ASSISTING A PARTICIPANT OR SHOW MANAGEMENT. THE TERM "ENGAGES  IN
AN  EQUINE  ACTIVITY"  SHALL  NOT INCLUDE BEING A SPECTATOR AT AN EQUINE
ACTIVITY, EXCEPT IN CASES WHERE THE SPECTATOR PLACES HIMSELF OR  HERSELF
IN  AN  UNAUTHORIZED AREA OR IN IMMEDIATE PROXIMITY TO THE EQUINE ACTIV-
ITY.
  2. "EQUINE" MEANS A HORSE, PONY, MULE OR DONKEY.
  3. "EQUINE ACTIVITY" MEANS:
  (A) EQUINE SHOWS, FAIRS, COMPETITIONS, PERFORMANCES  OR  PARADES  THAT
INVOLVE  ANY OR ALL BREEDS OF EQUINES AND ANY OF THE EQUINE DISCIPLINES,
INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO DRESSAGE, HUNTER AND JUMPER  HORSE  SHOWS,
GRAND PRIX JUMPING, THREE-DAY EVENTS, COMBINED TRAINING, RODEOS, RIDING,
DRIVING,  PULLING,  CUTTING,  POLO,  STEEPLECHASING, ENGLISH AND WESTERN
PERFORMANCE RIDING, ENDURANCE TRAIL RIDING, GYMKHANA GAMES, AND HUNTING.
  (B) EQUINE TRAINING OR TEACHING ACTIVITIES OR BOTH;
  (C) THE BOARDING OF EQUINES, INCLUDING NORMAL DAILY CARE THEREOF;
  (D) RIDING, INSPECTING OR EVALUATING OF AN EQUINE BELONGING TO ANOTHER
BY A PURCHASER OR AGENT, WHETHER OR NOT  THE  OWNER  HAS  RECEIVED  SOME
MONETARY CONSIDERATION OR OTHER THING OF VALUE FOR THE USE OF THE EQUINE
OR  IS PERMITTING A PROSPECTIVE PURCHASER OF THE EQUINE TO RIDE, INSPECT
OR EVALUATE THE EQUINE;
  (E) RIDES, TRIPS, HUNTS OR OTHER EQUINE ACTIVITIES OF ANY TYPE HOWEVER
INFORMAL OR IMPROMPTU THAT ARE SPONSORED BY AN EQUINE ACTIVITY SPONSOR;
  (F) PLACING OR REPLACING HORSESHOES OR HOOF TRIMMING ON AN EQUINE; OR
  (G) PROVIDING OR ASSISTING IN VETERINARY TREATMENT OF AN EQUINE.
  4. "EQUINE ACTIVITY SPONSOR" MEANS AN INDIVIDUAL, GROUP,  CLUB,  PART-
NERSHIP,  LIMITED  LIABILITY  COMPANY OR CORPORATION, WHETHER OR NOT THE
SPONSOR IS OPERATING  FOR  PROFIT  OR  NOT-FOR-PROFIT,  WHICH  SPONSORS,
ORGANIZES  OR  PROVIDES THE FACILITIES FOR AN EQUINE ACTIVITY, INCLUDING
BUT NOT LIMITED TO: PONY CLUBS, 4-H CLUBS,  HUNT  CLUBS,  RIDING  CLUBS,
SCHOOL AND COLLEGE-SPONSORED CLASSES, PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES, THERAPEU-
TIC  RIDING PROGRAMS, STABLE AND FARM OWNERS AND OPERATORS, INSTRUCTORS,
AND PROMOTERS OF EQUINE FACILITIES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO  FARMS,
STABLES,  CLUBHOUSES,  PONY  RIDE STRINGS, FAIRS AND ARENAS AT WHICH THE
ACTIVITY IS HELD.
  5. "EQUINE PROFESSIONAL" MEANS A PERSON ENGAGED FOR COMPENSATION:
  (A) IN INSTRUCTING A PARTICIPANT OR RENTING TO A PARTICIPANT AN EQUINE
FOR THE PURPOSE OF RIDING, DRIVING OR BEING A PASSENGER UPON THE EQUINE;

S. 795                              3

  (B) IN RENTING EQUIPMENT OR TACK TO A PARTICIPANT;
  (C) TO PROVIDE DAILY CARE OF HORSES BOARDED AT AN EQUINE FACILITY; OR
  (D) TO TRAIN AN EQUINE.
  6. "INHERENT RISKS OF EQUINE ACTIVITIES" MEANS THOSE DANGERS OR CONDI-
TIONS WHICH ARE AN INTEGRAL PART OF EQUINE ACTIVITIES, INCLUDING BUT NOT
LIMITED TO:
  (A)  THE  PROPENSITY  OF  EQUINES TO BEHAVE IN WAYS THAT MAY RESULT IN
INJURY, HARM OR DEATH TO PERSONS ON OR AROUND THEM;
  (B) THE UNPREDICTABILITY OF AN EQUINE'S REACTION  TO  SUCH  THINGS  AS
SOUNDS,  SUDDEN  MOVEMENT,  AND  UNFAMILIAR  OBJECTS,  PERSONS  OR OTHER
ANIMALS;
  (C) CERTAIN HAZARDS SUCH AS SURFACE AND SUBSURFACE CONDITIONS  INCLUD-
ING,  BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ROCKS, FOREST GROWTH, DEBRIS, BRANCHES, TREES,
ROOTS, STUMPS OR OTHER NATURAL OBJECTS;
  (D) COLLISIONS WITH OTHER EQUINES OR OBJECTS; AND
  (E) THE POTENTIAL OF A PARTICIPANT TO ACT IN A NEGLIGENT  MANNER  THAT
MAY  CONTRIBUTE  TO INJURY TO THE PARTICIPANT OR OTHERS, SUCH AS FAILING
TO MAINTAIN CONTROL OVER THE ANIMAL OR NOT  ACTING  WITHIN  HIS  OR  HER
ABILITY.
  7.  "PARTICIPANT"  MEANS  ANY PERSON, WHETHER AMATEUR OR PROFESSIONAL,
WHO ENGAGES IN AN EQUINE ACTIVITY, WHETHER OR  NOT  A  FEE  IS  PAID  TO
PARTICIPATE IN THE EQUINE ACTIVITY.
  S  18-303.  LIABILITY  OF  PERSONS INVOLVED IN EQUINE ACTIVITIES.   1.
NOTHING IN SECTION 18-304 OF THIS ARTICLE SHALL  PREVENT  OR  LIMIT  THE
LIABILITY  OF  AN  EQUINE ACTIVITY SPONSOR OR AN EQUINE PROFESSIONAL, IF
THE EQUINE ACTIVITY SPONSOR OR EQUINE PROFESSIONAL:
  (A) PROVIDED EQUIPMENT OR TACK, KNEW OR SHOULD HAVE  KNOWN  THAT  SUCH
EQUIPMENT  OR  TACK  WAS FAULTY, AND THE EQUIPMENT OR TACK WAS FAULTY TO
THE EXTENT THAT IT CAUSED THE INJURY;
  (B) PROVIDED THE EQUINE AND FAILED  TO  MAKE  REASONABLE  AND  PRUDENT
EFFORTS  TO DETERMINE THE ABILITY OF THE PARTICIPANT TO ENGAGE SAFELY IN
THE EQUINE ACTIVITY, AND DETERMINE THE ABILITY  OF  THE  PARTICIPANT  TO
SAFELY MANAGE THE PARTICULAR EQUINE BASED ON THE PARTICIPANT'S REPRESEN-
TATIONS OF HIS OR HER ABILITY;
  (C)  OWNS,  LEASES,  RENTS,  HAS  AUTHORIZED USE OF OR IS OTHERWISE IN
LAWFUL POSSESSION AND CONTROL OF THE LAND OR FACILITIES UPON  WHICH  THE
PARTICIPANT  SUSTAINED  INJURIES BECAUSE OF A DANGEROUS LATENT CONDITION
WHICH WAS KNOWN OR SHOULD HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO THE EQUINE ACTIVITY SPONSOR
OR EQUINE PROFESSIONAL, AND FOR WHICH WARNING SIGNS, PURSUANT TO SECTION
18-305 OF THIS ARTICLE, HAVE NOT BEEN CONSPICUOUSLY POSTED;
  (D) COMMITS AN ACT OF OMISSION  THAT  CONSTITUTES  WILLFUL  OR  WANTON
DISREGARD  FOR  THE  SAFETY OF THE PARTICIPANT, AND THAT ACT OF OMISSION
CAUSED THE INJURY; OR
  (E) INTENTIONALLY INJURES THE PARTICIPANT.
  2. THIS SECTION SHALL NOT APPLY TO THE HORSE RACING  ACTIVITY  AUTHOR-
IZED  PURSUANT  TO ARTICLE TWO, THREE OR FOUR OF THE RACING, PARI-MUTUEL
WAGERING AND BREEDING LAW.
  S 18-304. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY.  1. EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN  SUBDIVI-
SION  TWO OF SECTION 18-303 OF THIS ARTICLE, AN EQUINE ACTIVITY SPONSOR,
AN EQUINE PROFESSIONAL OR ANY OTHER PERSON, WHICH SHALL INCLUDE A CORPO-
RATION, LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY OR PARTNERSHIP, SHALL  NOT  BE  LIABLE
FOR AN INJURY TO OR THE DEATH OF A PARTICIPANT RESULTING FROM THE INHER-
ENT  RISKS  OF  EQUINE ACTIVITIES AND, EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN SUBDIVISION
TWO OF SECTION 18-303 OF THIS ARTICLE, NO PARTICIPANT NOR  PARTICIPANT'S
REPRESENTATIVE SHALL MAKE ANY CLAIM AGAINST, MAINTAIN AN ACTION AGAINST,
OR  RECOVER  FROM  AN EQUINE ACTIVITY SPONSOR, AN EQUINE PROFESSIONAL OR

S. 795                              4

ANY OTHER PERSON FOR INJURY, LOSS, DAMAGE OR DEATH  OF  THE  PARTICIPANT
RESULTING FROM ANY OF THE INHERENT RISKS OF EQUINE ACTIVITIES.
  2.  NOTHING  IN  THIS  ARTICLE  SHALL  LIMIT  THE  APPLICATION  OF THE
PROVISIONS OF SECTION 9-103 OF THIS CHAPTER.
  S 18-305. POSTING AND NOTIFICATION.    1.  EVERY  EQUINE  PROFESSIONAL
SHALL POST AND MAINTAIN SIGNS WHICH CONTAIN THE WARNING NOTICE SPECIFIED
IN  SUBDIVISION  TWO  OF  THIS  SECTION. SUCH SIGNS SHALL BE PLACED IN A
CLEARLY VISIBLE LOCATION IN THE PROXIMITY OF THE  EQUINE  ACTIVITY.  THE
WARNING NOTICE SPECIFIED IN SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION SHALL APPEAR
ON  THE  SIGN  IN BLACK LETTERS, WITH EACH LETTER TO BE A MINIMUM OF ONE
INCH IN HEIGHT. EVERY WRITTEN CONTRACT ENTERED INTO BY AN EQUINE PROFES-
SIONAL FOR THE PROVISION OF PROFESSIONAL SERVICES,  INSTRUCTION  OR  THE
RENTAL  OF  EQUIPMENT  OR TACK OR AN EQUINE TO A PARTICIPANT, WHETHER OR
NOT THE CONTRACT INVOLVES EQUINE ACTIVITIES ON OR OFF  THE  LOCATION  OR
SITE  OF  THE  EQUINE PROFESSIONAL'S BUSINESS, SHALL CONTAIN, IN CLEARLY
READABLE PRINT, THE WARNING NOTICE SPECIFIED IN SUBDIVISION TWO OF  THIS
SECTION.
  2.  THE  SIGNS  AND  CONTRACTS  DESCRIBED  IN  SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS
SECTION SHALL CONTAIN THE FOLLOWING WARNING NOTICE:
                                  WARNING
  UNDER NEW YORK LAW, AN EQUINE PROFESSIONAL OR EQUINE ACTIVITY  SPONSOR
IS  NOT  LIABLE FOR AN INJURY TO OR THE DEATH OF A PARTICIPANT IN EQUINE
ACTIVITIES RESULTING FROM  THE  INHERENT  RISKS  OF  EQUINE  ACTIVITIES,
PURSUANT TO SECTION 18-304 OF THE GENERAL OBLIGATIONS LAW.
  S  3.  This  act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall
have become a law.

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