Friday, June 19, 2009

Iowa Supremes Interpret Equine Activity Statute

Baker v. Shields, no. 07-1102 (Iowa June 19, 2009).

Baker was employed as a farmhand and worked for the Shields, father and son. In the course of attempting to move cattle, Baker was thrown from a horse. The third time he attempted to ride the horse he sustained a serious leg fracture and sued the Shields, father and son.

The Shields filed for summary judgment based on the immunity provisions of Iowa Code section 673.2 which provides that the owner of a domesticated animal is not liable for injuries sustained by a participant in the activity because of the inherent risks of a domesticated animal activity.

Baker disagreed, arguing that chapter 673 does not apply to the use of horses in traditional farming activities. He also argued that because the Shields did not provide workmen's compensation insurance they were liable anyway under Iowa Code section 87.21.

The district court concluded that the Shields were protected by Iowa Code section 673.2 and that Baker could not rely on section 87.21 because 87.21 only applies to common law defenses, not statutorily created defenses.

The Supreme Court affirmed, noting that the 'manifest intent' of the legislature in enacting the state's equine activity statute was to provide a blanket immunity for a broad range of activities and that traditional farming was within the ambit of the statute.


Post a Comment

<< Home