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Assumption of Risk Defense Not Bar to Horseback Riding Suit

May 21, 2011

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In Corcia v. Rocking Horse Ranch, the plaintiff commenced a negligence action
against defendant’s horseback riding ranch after she allegedly fell off a horse.
Plaintiff claimed that defendants failed to properly instruct plaintiff on how
to control a horse, that defendant’s trail guides were not sufficiently trained,
that they failed to respond when the horse started bucking. Specifically,
plaintiff asserted that the horse bucked a few times over several minutes, but
the guide did nothing. She also alleged that she was not given any instructions
on how to control the horse.
Defendants moved for summary judgment based
on the doctrine of assumption of risk. The Supreme Court partially denied the
motion and the defendants appealed. The Third Department affirmed. It held that
there were issues of fact as to whether the defendants enhanced the risk of
plaintiff falling by (1) failing to respond when the horse bucked, and (2)
failing to instruct plaintiff on how to control a horse.
Thanks to
Gabriel Darwick for his contribution to this post.
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