Garth Unke obtains defense summary judgment in horse bite case.

Garth Unke obtained summary judgment in a horse bite case, on behalf of the owner of a Woodbury stable. The Plaintiff kept two horses at the defendant’s stable, and executed a horse boarding agreement containing an exculpatory clause in which plaintiff acknowledged that horse-related activities were inherently dangerous and that even the most docile horse might bolt, spook, buck, kick, bite, or otherwise cause injury. Plaintiff later sustained injury when she was bitten in the face by a horse owned by another boarder and commenced suit alleging damages well into the six figures. In an Order issued on April 7, 2016 in Collyard v. Anne Kroshus, dba Meadowview Stables, Washington County District Court Judge Gary Schurrer concluded that Plaintiff’s claims were barred by the exculpatory clause, finding it clear and unambiguous and that it permissibly exculpated only ordinary negligence arising out of horse-related activities. The court also concluded that there was no evidence suggesting that the defendant had prior knowledge of any vicious or aggressive tendencies on the part of the subject horse, which such knowledge is a longstanding requirement for liability in animal injury cases in Minnesota.