California Court of Appeal

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Eriksson v. Nunnink, E057158

In the case, the daughter of plaintiffs fell off her horse at a riding event and the horse fell on her, causing her death. Plaintiffs sued defendant, the daughter's riding coach, for wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) on grounds that defendant substantially increased the risk that the daughter reasonably assumed by allowing her to ride a horse that was allegedly unfit to ride because of prior falls and lack of practice and by allegedly concealing this condition from plaintiffs. Judgment in favor of defendant, relying in part on a release of liability entered into between defendant and the daughter about six months prior to her death, is affirmed, where: 1) the release of liability is enforceable and can be asserted as a defense to the wrongful death and NIED claims; 2) defendant can therefore only be liable if the daughter's death was caused by defendant's gross negligence; and 3) plaintiffs failed to establish that defendant was grossly negligent.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 01/27/2015
  • Published 01/27/2015


  • King


  • California Court of Appeal