Texas Liability Warning Signs? You Need New Ones!
By Amy Ganci
To all our ranchers, farmers and veterinarians out there – rejoice! The Texas legislature has expanded Chapter 87 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code in ways important to YOU! But horse owners and professionals need also pay heed – you need new warning signs and contracts!!
In regular session, the 82nd Texas Legislature adopted the amendments to former “Texas Equine Limitation of Liability Act” which became effective immediately upon the requisite vote in the Texas House which occurred, and the Governor signed the Bill into law on June 17, 2011. In passing Senate Bill No. 479, which was sponsored by Craig Estes (R-30) and Sid Miller (R- 59), Texas expands the liability protections previously afforded only to those engaged in activities defined as “equine.” The Act, now called the “Texas Farm Animal Limitation of Liability Act,” defines “farm animals” to include: an equine, a bovine, a sheep or goat, a pig or hog, a ratite (including ostriches and emus), and a chicken or other fowl.
Using words like “shall” and “must,” farm animal professionals need to immediately obtain warning signs that state:
WARNING: UNDER TEXAS LAW (CHAPTER 87, CIVIL PRACTICE & REMEDIES CODE) A FARM ANIMAL PROFESSIONAL IS NOT LIABLE FOR AN INJURY TO OR THE DEATH OF A PARTICIPANT IN FARM ANIMAL ACTIVITIES RESULTING FROM THE INHERENT RISKS OF FARM ANIMAL ACTIVITIES.
This goes for you too – horsemen and horsewomen – get new signs!! This warning language must also appear in any contract that the professional enters for the rendition of professional services, instruction or the rental of equipment, tack, or a farm animal.
For those involved with farm animals not equine in nature, the Act now includes activities of rodeos, “events that involve a farm animal,” and “handling, loading, or unloading” a farm animal. Also, the Act now expressly covers veterinarian services, stating “farm animal activity means examining or administering medical treatment to a farm animal by a veterinarian.”
Ranchers, farmers, veterinarians, equine professionals and anyone else seeking the protections of the Act MUST obtain new signs containing the updated version of the Act’s warning language.
About the Author:
Amy Ganci is an attorney with offices in Allen and Dallas, Texas, practicing in commercial litigation and a broad variety of equine matters, including litigation, representation before breed and sport horse trade associations, as well as business transactions involving sales, breeding rights and syndications, training ventures, and the import and export of horses and breeding products. In addition to her law practice, Amy is an avid horsewoman.
For more information about Amy and her firm, go to www.gancilaw.com.