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Appeals Court rejects trial judge's assessment; throws out verdict for injured girl

Whitney Fox was hurt when she fell from a galloping horse at the Knoblock Riding Stables.  She sued the stables, arguing that the owner's niece was negligent in encouraging the horses on a guided ride to increase speed--rendering the ride unsafe for a novice rider.  The judge agreed and rendered a bench verdict (both parties apparently waived the right to a jury) in favor of Fox in the total amount of just under $20,000.00.

The Defendants appealed and the Court of Appeals overturned the judge's decision.  In analyzing the transcript, the higher court judges concluded that there wasn't enough evidence to support the trial judge's conclusion that the stable owner's niece had been the catalyst in increasing the horses' speed on the guided ride.  When we looked at the quoted pages of transcript and give appropriate deference to the trial judge's observation of witnesses and their credibility, we think the trial judge got it right and his judgment should have been respected.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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