Category Archives: Landowner Liability

Know Your State’s Landowner Liability Statutes

I recently wrote an article for Progressive Cattleman discussing the importance of landowners being aware of the various landowner liability statutes that exist in their state. All 50 states have at least one (most states have multiple) statute that offers limited liability to landowners in the event someone is injured on their property, so long as certain requirements are met.  The National Agricultural Law Center has a collection of various statutes for each state in their Reading Room.  For those of you in Texas, I published a legal… Read More →

October 7, 2016 Weekly Round Up

Happy October!  Here are some of the ag law stories in the news this week. * Supreme Court to consider landmark groundwater dispute between Mississippi and Tennessee.  A groundwater dispute in which Mississippi claims that Tennessee is over-pumping an aquifer that lays beneath both states will be considered by the United States Supreme Court.  [Read article here.] *Lots to think about before entering into a solar lease agreement.  The Texas Observer published an article this week discussing a number of considerations that landowners need to keep in mind when approached… Read More →

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 →