Arizona law will apply here.
A mother (M) took her daughter (D) and daughter's friend (DF) to a commercial horse boarding facility (CHBF). The M says she had taken the D and DF to the CHBF many times in the past with the consent of the DF's parents. On this day, I am told the DF's parents were asked and gave their consent.
They took my horse out to ride without my permission and the DF was injured. The DF's attorney says the horse bucked and she fell off. The D says she was on the horse and the horse got spooked and sideswipped the DF as she stood on the ground. Either way, it seems like it was an inherent danger when being with a horse, so, in my opinion, the parent's of the DF assumed the risk.
There are no known witnesses other than the D and DF. The M did not witness the event. I was not there when this event occurred. I wonder if they were trying to ride double, but they both deny it. They were using the saddle and tack of the people that own the CHBF, and I believe it was without permission.
Of course, the DF is suing the M and D, and they are suing me for negligence because they say I have a duty to the DF. I have never met the DF, and I have never talked to her or her parents or communicated with them in any way. I never gave the DF or her parents permission to be on the property and I never gave the DF or her parents permission to ride my horse. The M and D previously had permission to ride my horse under supervision, but it was revoked because my horse was in training.
I bought the horse in question from the CHBF, and the D used to show the horse before I bought the horse, so the D has a lot of experience with this horse and is a good rider. However, after I bought the horse she still wanted to ride, but initially it was under supervision and then permission was revoked all together...
I have a law degree, but I do patent law...
I found this for Az:
In order to maintain a negligence/tort
action in Arizona, an injury victim must establish the four elements of a tort. Those four elements are duty, breach, causation and damages. In other words, the injury victim must prove that the defendant had a duty to the victim, the defendant breached that duty, and the breach of the duty caused damages.
In the complaint, they just mention I had a duty to the DF, but they do not say why. They are silent as to how I allegedly breached the duty and how the breach allegedly caused the damages.
The relevant horse statute for Arizona is A.R.S. § 12-553, and it mentions gross negligence.
Help! I do not want to spend my summer dealing with this. I am really sorry she got hurt, but there is no way I was negligent or grossly negligent. Besides, it seems like A.R.S. § 12-553 protects me and the CHBF, as well as the M and D because the parents of the DF assumed the risk.