University of Vermont AAHS

Freskos v. City of New York


New York Appellate Division, First Department
243 A.D.2d 364, 663 N.Y.S.2d 174
October 23, 1997


Summary of Opinion

Plaintiff Freskos was injured when her horse slipped on pavement after it spooked while being ridden in Central Park in New York City. The trial court had found in favor of the plaintiff against the City of New York on the ground the City was negligent in failing to fence off the bridle path from the pavements.

The Appellate Division reversed the trial court. It found that the plaintiff was an experienced equestrian who knowingly assumed the risks of such an accident when she chose to ride a horse in Central Park.


Text of Opinion



Order, Supreme Court, New York County (Fern Fisher-Brandveen, J.), entered April 23, 1996, denying defendant's motion to set aside the jury's liability verdict, unanimously reversed, on the law, without costs, the motion granted, and the complaint against the defendant New York City dismissed. The Clerk is directed to enter judgment in favor of defendant dismissing the complaint. Appeal from order, same court and Justice, entered on or about July 7, 1995, unanimously dismissed, without costs, as abandoned.

Plaintiff, an experienced equestrian, while riding a rented horse on the Central Park bridle path, lost control of the horse, which, when "spooked," ran off of the bridle path and into the roadway in the vicinity of the 90th Street exit. Plaintiff was thrown, fracturing her leg, when the horse slipped. We reject plaintiff's contention that the City's liability arises from its failure to construct fencing segregating the bridle path from the roadway in the vicinity of the exit. Rather, plaintiff, an experienced voluntary participant in a potentially dangerous recreational event, assumed the risks associated with the reasonably foreseeable consequences of that activity.

Voluntary participants in sporting or recreational events are presumed "to have consented, by their participation, to those injury-causing events which are known, apparent or reasonably foreseeable consequences of the participation" (Turcotte v. Fell, 68 N.Y.2d 432, 439, 510 N.Y.S.2d 49, 502 N.E.2d 964; see also, Calise v. City of New York, --- A.D.2d ----, 657 N.Y.S.2d 430) and are inherent in the activity (Morgan v. State of New York, 90 N.Y.2d 471, 662 N.Y.S.2d 421, 685 N.E.2d 202) in the absence of any indication of concealed (cf., Henig v. Hofstra Univ., 160 A.D.2d 761, 553 N.Y.S.2d 479; comp., Calabro v. Plattekill Mtn. Ski Ctr., 197 A.D.2d 558, 602 N.Y.S.2d 655, lv. denied 83 N.Y.2d 754, 612 N.Y.S.2d 378, 634 N.E.2d 979) or unreasonably increased risks (Morgan v. State of New York, supra), or reckless or intentional conduct, not herein present.

Accordingly, we reverse on the issue of liability and dismiss the complaint against the City.

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