Smith v. Landfair, 2012 Ohio 5692 (Ohio Sup. Ct. 2012)

(plaintiff, who was an employee of the stable but not working that day, was injured by horse when she came to the aid of her employer who was unloading horse at time it was spooked; employee sued her employer for his negligence in unloading the horse; employer argued he was immune from liability under state’s equine-activities-immunity statute; court held plaintiff was spectator at time of injury and was therefore an “equine activity participant”, so statute barred recovery; plaintiff appealed and appeals court reversed; employer sought further review by state supreme court; key issue on appeal was whether plaintiff was spectator under broad language of statute during unloading of horse; court held that under statute, person must deliberately put himself in position of exposure to inherent risk of proximity to animals and sees such an activity as a spectator; court held plaintiff voluntarily placed herself in a location where equine activities were occurring and saw the unloading of the horse, so her claim is barred; dissent filed arguing statute is unconstitutional because it removes an individual’s right to legal redress).

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