Category Archives: Landowner Liability

April 9, 2021 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  Spring has sprung here in the Texas Panhandle and I’m enjoying the green grass and warmer weather.  Here are few of the ag law stories in the news over the past couple of weeks.   * Farm Animal Liability Act bill moves forward as amended.  You may recall from our post a week ago that HB 365 is currently pending and would modify the Texas Farm Animal Liability Act to ensure application to working farms and ranches.  For more detail, click here.  The bill continues to… Read More →

TX House Bill to Modify Farm Animal Liability Act Unanimous Out of Committee

A bill that would seek to essentially undo a 2020 Texas Supreme Court decision limiting the scope of the Texas Farm Animal Liability Act (FALA) has been unanimously passed out of the House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee.  For farmers and ranchers, this is an important issue as it relates to their legal protection from liability for injuries caused by horses or livestock. Statutory Background The Texas Equine Act was passed in 1995.  The scope of the statute was amended in 2011 to expand the scope of the… Read More →

2020 Agricultural Law Year in Review – Texas

If you missed our National Year in Review post, click here.  I am not sure I can remember a year with more agricultural law-related opinions being issued by Texas appellate courts. From fence law to eminent domain, hemp to liability, here are some of the biggest legal stories of 2020 from the Lone Star State.   Dicamba Registration Vacated, New Registration Issued, Lawsuit Filed Although this is a national issue, and we addressed it in more detail on our National Year in Review post, because it had such… Read More →

Reviewing Your Liability Insurance Policy

This article was first published in the  Progressive Cattle Magazine.   One of the first steps anyone owning or leasing land should take is securing adequate liability insurance. Liability insurance offers critical protection in the event someone is injured on the insured’s property. Liability insurance offers two key benefits to the insured. First, it provides coverage up to the policy limits that will be paid out in the event a covered claim occurs. Second, it provides a defense to the landowner in the event a covered claim is… Read More →

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 →

50-State Survey: Liability for Pesticide Drift

Landowners who apply or contract for the application of pesticide may have concern over their potential liability should pesticide drift occur and cause damage to neighboring crops. Generally, lawsuits related to drift sound in negligence. However, there are two additional potential claims that may arise in these cases of which landowners should be aware.  Hannes Zetzsche, a third-year law student at the University of Nebraska, and I recently co-authored an article on liability for pesticide drift.  In particular, the article looks at two important questions and offers the… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Ruling in Spider Bite Case Important for Rural Landowners

The Texas Supreme Court recently issued an opinion in a case involving a spider bite.  That may sound strange, but it is an important case for rural landowners when it comes to liability for injuries caused by wild animals. Background Mr. Hillis owns a bed and breakfast in Fredericksburg that he uses mostly for weekend rentals.  He also owns a cabin on the property.  Hillis leased the cabin to Mr. McCall and McCall offered to “open up” the bed and breakfast building for guests and others needing access… Read More →

Landowner Liability Protection Resources

One of my favorite topics is landowner liability protections.  This is an area of the law where landowners can take affordable steps before any incident occurs to protect themselves, their operations, and their livelihood. Here are some of my favorite resources related to landowner liability protection. I put together a Fact Sheet on “How Landowners Can Protect Themselves from Liability.”  Click here to download. I recorded an episode of Ag Law Today with Cari Rincker on this very topic.  Click here to view. I’ve done blog posts on… Read More →

Will Texas Courts Enforce Liability Waivers Signed on Behalf of Minor Children?

For landowners who allow minor children to come onto their property and partake in activities like hunting, swimming, fishing, or riding ATVs, there is an interesting question that remains unanswered by the Texas Supreme Court: Are liability waivers signed by a parent on behalf of a minor child enforceable in Texas? The Texas Supreme Court has never directly addressed this issue.  There are however, a handful of lower court cases indicating these waivers may not be enforceable. Background Landowners who allow minor children to come onto their property… Read More →