Category Archives: Farm Animal Liability Act

Texas Supreme Court Holds Farm Animal Liability Act Inapplicable to Ranchers & Ranch Hands

The Texas Supreme Court issued a divided opinion on a case involving the death of a ranch employee and determined the Farm Animal Liability Act does not apply to “ranchers and ranch hands.”  This interpretation limits the scope of the Act and is important for livestock owners to be aware of. [Read full opinion here.] Background The Waaks raise Charolais cattle in Fayette County.  In 2005, they hired Raul Zuniga to work part time with the cattle, landscaping, and cutting hay.  In 2008, he began working full-time for… Read More →

So Many New Opinions!

Over the last month, there have been a large number of agricultural-related opinions released here in Texas.  I plan to blog on each of these individually, but many of you have asked for some basic information about several of the opinions.  Today, I will be giving brief summaries of the cases and links to read the full opinions for those of you who may be interested in doing so.  Stay tuned over the next couple of months to see much deeper dives into the decisions in each of… Read More →

Death of Ranch Hand Raises Important Legal Issues

**UPDATE:  On December 13, 2019, the Texas Supreme Court granted the petition for review.  Oral argument is scheduled for January 30, 2020.** A recent opinion in Zuniga v. Waak from the Houston (1st Dist.) Court of Appeals raises important issues regarding Texas law related to agricultural operations.  First, the case addresses the scope of the Texas Farm Animal Liability Act when an employee is injured.  Second, the case illustrates important considerations with regard to workers compensation insurance coverage.  [Read Opinion here.] Background Defendants own a ranch in Fayette County where… Read More →

James v. Young: Are Landowners Liable for Horse Riding Injury to Child?

A recent case out of the Waco Court of Appeals, James v. Young, is the real-life version of many landowners’ nightmare.  When a six-year-old child fell off of a horse the landowners allowed him to ride, his parents filed suit.  Did the Farm Animal Liability Act apply to shield the landowners from liability? Background The James family and the Young family were friends.  One weekend, the two families were spending time at the Young ranch.  The mothers and two of the children rode horses while several of the men… 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 →