47 states now have an Equine Activity Liability Act. These laws, in various ways, limit or control liabilities associated with equine activities. Nevada is the latest state to pass such a law. On May 27, 2015, Nevada’s Governor approved SB 129. Here’s a link to this new law.
Some of the noteworthy provisions of Nevada’s new Equine Activity Liability Act are:
- The law begins by offering potential immunities to “a sponsor, an equine professional, a veterinarian, or any other person.” Section 1.
- The law provides that “participants shall” “(a) Act in a safe and responsible manner when engaged in an equine activity; and (b) Before engaging in an equine activity, know and be aware of the inherent risks of that activity.”
- The law, like many across the country, excludes licensed horse races.
- No sign posting requirements or contract language provisions exist.
- The law’s exceptions (on which an injured person might bring a claim or lawsuit) are:
- Providing “defective” tack or equipment. (The word “defective” is unusual since most laws target “faulty” tack or equipment.) Section 3(a).
- “Failure to make reasonable efforts.” Section 3(b).
- Dangerous latent condition of the property or facility that was known or should have been known. Section 3(c).
- “Willful and wanton disregard for the safety of the participant.” Section 3(d)(1) and (2).
- Intentional injury to the participant. Section 3(e).
- A professional sponsor, or “other person” “fail[ing] to act responsibly while conducting an equine activity or maintaining an equine.” Section 3(f).
The Nevada EALA’s last exception of “failed to act responsibly” is unique and appears to render Nevada’s EALA weaker than most across the country. Black’s Law Dictionary has no definition for “failure to act responsibly,” and this appears to be a negligence exception. Only a few EALAs nationwide have “negligence” exceptions.
This law applies to causes of action or claims that accrue on or after October 1, 2015.