The Second Department determined defendants’ motion for summary judgment should not have been granted. Plaintiff was injured when she fell off a horse during riding instruction. The instructor had plaintiff execute a maneuver with her feet outside the stirrups. The plaintiff had told the instructor she could not do the maneuver and she fell when attempting it:
Pursuant to the doctrine of primary assumption of risk, a voluntary participant in a sporting or recreational activity ” consents to those commonly appreciated risks which are inherent in and arise out of the nature of the sport generally and flow from such participation'” … . The doctrine operates to limit the scope of the defendant’s duty, and “it has been described [as] a principle of no duty’ rather than an absolute defense based upon a plaintiff’s culpable conduct” … . “If the risks of the activity are fully comprehended or perfectly obvious, plaintiff has consented to them and defendant has performed its duty” … . “The risks of falling from a horse or a horse acting in an unintended manner are inherent in the sport of horseback riding” … .
The primary assumption of risk doctrine does not serve as a bar to liability if the risk is unassumed, concealed, or unreasonably increased … . “[A]wareness of risk is not to be determined in a vacuum. It is, rather, to be assessed against the background of the skill and experience of the particular plaintiff” … . Furthermore, “in assessing whether a defendant has violated a duty of care within the genre of tort-sports activities and their inherent risks, the applicable standard should include whether the conditions caused by the defendants’ negligence are unique and created a dangerous condition over and above the usual dangers that are inherent in the sport'” … .
Here, the defendants failed to establish [their] prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. The defendants failed to establish, prima facie, that the conduct of [the instructor] did not unreasonably increase [plaintiff’s] exposure to the risk of falling. Georgiades v Nassau Equestrian Ctr. at Old Mill, Inc., 2015 NY Slip Op 09249, 2nd Dept 12-16-15
MONTHLY COMPILATION INDEX ENTRIES:
NEGLIGENCE (ASSUMPTION OF RISK, UNREASONABLE INCREASE OF RISK)/ASSUMPTION OF RISK (UNREASONABLE INCREASE)