Category Archives: Landowner Liability

Questions from Tiffany’s Desk: Texas Agritourism Act

Since I wrote a blog post several months ago outlining the newly enacted Texas Agritourism Act, I have gotten a flurry of questions from folks across the state related to the Act’s protection and application.  I thought I would take the time to answer a few of these questions today. Where can I find more information about the Agritourism Act? To read a prior blog post I wrote discussing the basics of the Agritourism Act, click here.  To read a more in depth legal discussion of landowner liability statues (including the… Read More →

Texas Landowner Liability Statutes

Recently, I had the honor of speaking at the 10th Annual John Huffaker Agricultural Law Course.  This event, put on by the Texas State Bar, is a continuing education event for attorneys.  My task was to provide an overview of limited liability statutes in Texas.  Three statutes (Recreational Use Statute, Agritourism Act, and Farm Animal liability Act) offer limited liability to Texas landowners if the requirements are met.  It is critical that Texas landowners be aware of these statutes and seek to comply to protect their operations in… Read More →

Landowner Liability: What If Blowing Dust Causes Highway Accident?

My very first assignment as a summer associate at a law firm was to look into whether our client, a rancher, could be held liable where dust from his property blew across the highway causing decreased visibility and a car accident ensued.  This same question was included in the Top 10 Things Agricultural Lawyers Should Know presentation by John Huffaker and David LeBas at the Texas Ag Law Course in 2015. It is an interesting and important issue for Texas landowners.  The answer, like so many legal answers, is not… Read More →

Texas Agritourism Act

As was briefly mentioned in this prior legislative recap post, Texas now has a new statute offering liability protection for agritourism operations.  The Act, carried as SB 610 and now codified as Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 75A, offers important protections of which landowners need to be aware.   The statute provides that an “agritourism entity” is not liable to any person for injury or damages to an “agritourism participant” if: (1) the required signage is posted; or (2) a written agreement containing required language is obtained. Let’s… Read More →

Texas Farm Animal Liability Act (Part II): Examples and Advice

In Part 1 of this series, I offered a detailed outline and explanation of the Texas Farm Animal Liability Act (“the Act”).  Today, we will review Texas appellate cases that have applied the Act to see how the statute plays out in real life.  As the Act is relatively new, originally passed in 1995, there are not a huge number of opinions analyzing this statute. Dodge v. Durdin, Johnson v. Smith, Young v. McKim The first group of cases we will consider are those analyzing whether the Act’s… Read More →

Texas Farm Animal Liability Act (Part I): The Basics

The Texas Equine Activity Limitation of Liability Act was originally passed in 1995 and applied only to equine animals.  Forty-six states, all but California, Maryland, Nevada, and New York, have enacted similar equine statutes, although each state’s statute greatly differs in details.  The purpose of these statutes are to encourage participation in equine activities, to ensure the public is aware of inherent risks of equine activities, and to provide limited liability to equine facility operators. In 2011, the Texas Legislature amended the statute to apply to not only equine animals, but… Read More →

What Constitutes Gross Negligence Under the Recreational Use Statute?

The Texas Supreme Court recently analyzed an important question for Texas landowners:  What constitutes gross negligence under the Recreational Use Statute?  The court’s opinion in Suarez v. City of Texas City focuses on other issues such as governmental immunity as well, but also offers insight into how gross negligence is analyzed under the Recreational Use Statute. [Read full opinion here.] Legal Background As you may recall from this prior blog post, Texas has a Recreational Use Statute which essentially shields Texas landowners from liability if a person is injured on agricultural land while… Read More →

Questions from Tiffany’s Desk: Liability for Snakes on My Land

Question:  If someone is bitten by a snake on my land, can I be held liable? This is a great question and as I was working on this blog post, I came across a great quote in a Texas appellate court opinion that sort of summarizes this issue:  “A good deal of the vegetation in Texas stings, sticks or stinks.  Any number of insects and animals can hurt or even kill you.” Answer:  Although liability is unlikely, it is possible under certain circumstances. As you may recall from… Read More →

Questions from Tiffany’s Desk: Is that liability release worth more the paper it’s written on?

Question:  This is one I get a lot when I give presentations suggesting the use of liability releases before allowing people on your property to undertake certain activities like hunting or riding horses.  Are these releases enforceable?  As one gentleman put it, “Is a liability release worth any more than the paper it’s written on?” Answer:  If drafted correctly, a liability release is enforceable under Texas law and may allow the released party to avoid liablity.  Releases, however, are not favored and are narrowly construed against the released… Read More →

Tx Supreme Court Holds Recreational Use Statute Does Not Apply to Spectators at Sporting Events

A question had arisen in Texas appellate courts over the last several years:  Would attending a sporting event as a spectator fall under the definition of “recreation” thereby allowing the defendant to raise the Recreational Use Statute as a defense? Last week, the Texas Supreme Court answered this question in University of Texas at Arlington v. Williams.  [Read full opinion here.] Background The plaintiff attended her daughter’s high school soccer game at the University of Texas at Arlington football stadium.  She watched her daughter’s game through completion.  After… Read More →