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Michigan Supreme Court clarifies Equine Liability Act

This week the Supreme Court decided a case arising out of the negligent management of a horse.  The case, Tina Lee Beattie v. Mark Mickalich, had originally been dismissed by the Lapeer County Circuit Court when the trial judge decided that Mickalich was protected and immune from suit because of the Equine Activity LIability Act.    The Court of Appeals had agreed with the lower court, but the Supreme Court reversed, holding that by its precise terms, the Act preserved responsibility in the owner "if the person commits a negligent act or omission that constitutes a proximate cause of the injury."   Justice Markman wrote separately to confirm that the plain language of the Act "does not provide blanket immunity to a horse owner."  Justice Young, despite this plain language, would grant the horse owner immunity, and as usual, Justice Corrigan would also have given the immunity language in the statute broad application to protect insurers. 
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