August 9, 2019

New law reduces frivolous equine lawsuits

first_img Categories: Johnson News Rep. Johnson liability measure requires willful, wanton negligenceWhen Gov. Rick Snyder signed Public Act 87 of 2015 this past summer Michigan joined a majority of other states that recognize the inherent risk accepted while participating in equine activities and therefore limit frivolous lawsuits involving horse-related incidents.Pictured, standing from left: State Rep. Joel Johnson, Connie Kleinhardt, Gabrielle Hume and Dick Kleinhardt of the Backcountry Horsemen of America, and Julie Fershtman, Foster Swift attorney with Gov. Rick Snyder at the Oct. 8 ceremonial bill signing of Public Act 87 of 2015.State Rep. Joel Johnson sponsored the law to amend the liability standard in the Michigan Equine Activity Liability Act from “negligence” to a “willful and wanton disregard for safety.” It is an effort the lawmaker has worked on with various equine organizations for several years.“Everyone recognizes that the actions of these large animals can sometimes be unpredictable, so it seems unfair to subject equine event organizers and professionals to unlimited liability,” said Rep. Johnson, R-Clare. “These frivolous claims clog our courtrooms, increase insurance costs and discourage event participation by equestrian owners.”PA 87 addresses a 2010 Michigan Supreme Court decision that ruled in the plaintiff’s behalf when a horse she was saddling while participating in an equine event reared up on her.Replacing “negligent” with the new “willful or wanton disregard” language creates a higher threshold for liability than the previous law.Johnson can be contacted toll free at 1-855-JOELJ-97 (1-855-563-5597); by email, [email protected]; through his website,; or by mail, P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48933. 14Oct New law reduces frivolous equine lawsuitslast_img