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Carl v. Resnick

July 28, 1999

JUDY CARL,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
V.
SHELLY RESNICK,
DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: *Justice McBRIDE

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County Honorable Kathy M. Flanagan, Judge Presiding.

MODIFIED ON DENIAL OF PETITION FOR REHEARING

*Justice McBride is participating in this decision in place of Justice Marvin Leavitt who retired from the Appellate Court on December 4, 1998.

On November 19, 1995, plaintiff Judy Carl was riding her horse on a trail in the Cook County Forest Preserve. Defendant Shelly Resnick and her friend, Kathy Paddock, both on horses owned by defendant, were riding in the opposite direction. All three riders stopped to talk when they passed along the trail. At some point, the horse upon which Paddock was riding pinned its ears back, turned its body toward plaintiff's horse, and kicked plaintiff and her horse. One hoof struck plaintiff's leg, causing her injury.

On February 13, 1997, plaintiff filed her first amended complaint alleging both a violation of the Animal Control Act (510 ILCS 5/16 (West 1995)) and negligence. Both parties filed motions for summary judgment. The trial court denied plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on the Animal Control Act count and granted defendant's motion for summary judgment, based upon the Equine Activity Liability Act (Equine Act) (745 ILCS 47/1 et seq. (West 1995)), on both counts. Plaintiff now appeals.

Since the trial court found both counts of plaintiff's complaint barred by the Equine Act, we will first address the applicability of that Act to the instant cause of action. We recognize this is an issue of first impression, no Illinois court having interpreted the Equine Act since it became effective on July 7, 1995. Section 5 of the Equine Act sets forth the Act's purposes: "The General Assembly recognizes that persons who participate in equine activities may incur injuries as a result of the risks involved in those activities. The General Assembly also finds that the State and its citizens derive numerous economic and personal benefits from equine activities. Therefore, it is the intent of the General Assembly to encourage equine activities by delineating the responsibilities of those involved in equine activities." 745 ILCS 47/5 (West 1995). The "equine activities" sought to be "encourage[d]" are enumerated in section 10(c) of the Act:

"(c) 'Equine activity' means:"

"(1) Equine shows, fairs, competitions, performances, or parades that involve any or all breeds of equines and any of the equine disciplines, including, but not limited to, dressage, hunter and jumper horse shows, grand prix jumping, 3 day events, combined training, rodeos, driving, pulling, cutting, polo, steeplechasing, English and western performance riding, endurance trail riding and western games, and hunting."

"(2) Equine training activities, teaching activities, or both."

"(3) Boarding equines."

"(4) Riding, inspecting, or evaluating an equine belonging to another, whether or not the owner has received some monetary consideration or other thing of value for the use of the equine or is permitting a prospective purchaser of the equine to ride, inspect, or evaluate the equine."

"(5) Rides, trips, hunts, or other equine activities of any type however informal or impromptu that are sponsored by an equine activity sponsor."

"(6) Placing or replacing horseshoes on an equine." 745 ILCS 47/10(c) (West 1995).

The Equine Act encourages these "equine activities" by providing an assumption of risk defense to defendants sued by plaintiffs injured while engaging in one of the above-listed ...


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