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judge wapner

It was raining this morning so I couldn't ride or clean stalls, and had to stay in the house and watch Animal Planet on cable TV, while I did the quarterly cleaning.  He had a case on which involved a woman in Southern California, who has an arabian horse or two.  The woman's friend borrowed the horse, and was riding down a "designated horse trail", next to one of these hellacious Southern California roadways.  The horse spooked, probably at one of the ten million gardeners with gas blowers or some such thing, and the rider fell off.  The owner was trying to catch him on horseback on horse #2, which slid on the asphalt and fell, knocking her unconscious. #2 then got up and ran off with horse #1, right into a busy commercial area.  They were coming down a hill, and a truck turned to get out their way, and they came up to a nice car, Lexus or something, which was behind the truck. Horse #2, swerved, but horse #1 smashed into the car, landing on the hood, and the front window and shattering that. The horse lived but perforated it's abdomen, and had multiple lacerations and contusions.  The driver lived (lucky man) and he sued the owner of the horse, for $8,000 in car damages, and $1500 in other related expenses,(leasing another car for a month-must have been a nice car). Long story /short, Judge Wapner decided that since the horse was not under the control of the owner, and the rider was not an agent of the owner, she was not negligent. He also ruled that the driver was unable to avoid the animals, so he was not negligent. So nobody was liable for anyone elses expenses. Phew, that could have been terrible.! On a positive note, (which was unusual), at the end of the show, the driver said, he wanted everyone to know that he was happy the horse lived. The horse owner said she was thankful the driver didn't get killed.    They were both lucky they didn't go through regular court, because that sure smelled like a $15,000 court-job to me.   Such are the joys of horse ownership/riding in Southern California.  All I could think of is the dangerous road up the street and how I almost got hit last year, and how the city would be so vulnerable to lawsuit, since they have been repeatedly asked to put up safety guardrails by the busy road, and they keep delaying, and delaying.  I just quit riding there, but some people still do.     Beth

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