Burke v. McKay

268 Neb. 14, 679 N.W.2d 418 (2004)

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Burke v. McKay

Nebraska Supreme Court
268 Neb. 14, 679 N.W.2d 418 (2004)

Facts

Troy Joseph Burke (plaintiff) was an 18-year-old student who had been participating in rodeos since he was 10. Troy signed up to be a participant in the high school rodeo held in Madison, Nebraska. The McKay Rodeo Company (the MRC), owned by Robert M. McKay (McKay) (defendants), provided the stock for the rodeo. Troy signed up to participate in the bareback horse-riding event. Troy and his father signed a release prior to the rodeo. On the day of the rodeo, Troy saw that he was assigned to ride horse No. 18. Troy went to check out the horse and realized that he had seen the animal before in a prior rodeo. At that rodeo, the horse bucked its rider abnormally by flipping backwards, causing the rider to be injured. Knowing this, Troy was apprehensive about riding horse No. 18. Troy asked a fellow contestant whether he had seen the horse before, and the contestant responded that he had and that the horse had bucked normally on that occasion. Thus, Troy decided to go forward with the bareback event. Once horse No. 18 was out of the chute, it bucked backwards and crushed Troy between its back and the ground. Troy’s mother, Kim Burke (plaintiff), filed a negligence suit against the MRC, McKay, and other organizations involved in the rodeo, on behalf of her son. The MRC, McKay, and the other organizations filed a motion for summary judgment based on several affirmative defenses. The trial court granted the motion based specifically on assumption of the risk. The Burkes appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stephan, J.)

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