Defendant Fails to Show His Horse Lacked "Vicious Propensities" So Summary Judgment Denied

Case: Carey v. Schwab

Court: Appellate Division, Third Department

Date: July 22, 2013

From: New York attorney Gary E. Rosenberg (personal injury and accident attorney and lawyer; serving Brooklyn and Queens; Queens injury lawyer)

**************************************************

RELATED POSTS:

HORSE RIDER'S CASE AGAINST SUED RACE TRACK OWNER FOR INJURIES WHEN HORSE FELL WHILE CROSSING ROAD DISMISSED FOR ASSUMPTION OF THE RISK

DEFENSE SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTION IN HORSEBACK RIDING ACCIDENT CASE GRANTED DESPITE TWO IGNORED NOTICES TO ADMIT--WHICH CAN'T COVER ISSUES THAT NEED A TRIAL

**************************************************

Facts: This personal injury appeals case originated in upstate New York.

As can only happen outside of New York City, defendant and two others went to a bar on horseback. Two of the three horses got loose and were chased. Plaintiff was home and saw the horses outside running and being chased. Can you guess what he did?

Plaintiff jumped into his car to help round up the horses. Cornering the horses in a pasture, plaintiff exited his car. Plaintiff was holding the reins of a horse named "Whiskey" when Whiskey knocked him down, dragged, and stepped on him. This accident lawsuit followed.

The Court noted that defendant could only be held strictly liable (responsible) for the injury caused by Whiskey if Whiskey's "vicious propensities" were known beforehand. Defendant claimed that Whiskey was calm, well-behaved and docile.

Plaintiff relied on the deposition testimony of defendant's neighbor, a horse trainer, who testified that he was familiar with defendant's horses and that the horse that defendant usually rode was aggressive. However, this nonparty witness could not say which horse he was referring to. Because the witness could not specifically identify the horse, defendant claimed entitlement to summary judgment dismissing the plaintiff's complaint.

Held: There was sufficient evidence that Whiskey was the horse in question, the horse that defendant usually rode, so as to permit this case to go to trial on the question of whether Whiskey had "vicious propensities."

Categories