On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Gloucester County, Docket No. L-619-07.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Axelrad and Espinosa.
Plaintiff Janet Polechek appeals from an order granting summary judgment, dismissing her complaint with prejudice. We affirm.
Defendants Dominic and Anna Schina own DMS Farms, LLC, which they operate as a facility for boarding and training horses. Plaintiff, a licensed thoroughbred horse trainer, contracted with DMS Farms to store four or five of her horses.
On April 13, 2005, Eddie Persaud, an exercise rider employed by plaintiff, was riding one of her horses, "Jan's Brother," at the DMS Farms track. Plaintiff was mucking out one of the stalls in the barn when she heard Eddie scream, "Yo" and left the barn in response. Eddie was walking and Jan's Brother was running in the wrong direction around the turn of the track, away from Eddie and toward her. Plaintiff was concerned that the horse would run through a gap in the outside rail of the track. She ran to the gap in the fence and attempted to stop Jan's Brother by shouting, "Whoa!" The horse did not stop but rather, ran over plaintiff, causing her to suffer substantial injuries.
Approximately one year earlier, plaintiff executed a release and hold harmless agreement (the release), which we set forth in its entirety here:
Release and Hold Harmless Agreement
1. I understand the potential danger that I could incur in mounting, riding, walking, boarding, feeding, training, grooming, swimming said horses, including but not limited to, any interactions with other horses. Understanding those risks I hereby release DMS FARM, its officers, directors, shareholders, employees and anyone else directly or indirectly connected with DMD FARM from any liability whatsoever in the event of injury or damage of any nature (or perhaps even death) to me.
2. I understand and warrant that this Release and [H]old Harmless Agreement, is being voluntarily and intentionally signed and agreed to, and that in signing this Release and Hold Harmless Agreement I know and understand that this Release and Hold Harmless Agreement may further limit the liability of DMS FARM to include any activity, whatsoever, involving an equine, including death, personal injury and/or damage to property.
3. I further voluntarily agree and warrant to Release and Hold Harmless DMS FARM from any liability whatsoever, including, but not limited to, injuries, death or property damages from: mounting, riding, dismounting, walking, grooming, feeding, use of horse barn, paddocks, and farm property, and horse track in any capacity, including falling off whether the horse is bucking, flipping, [or] spooked.
I Janet Polachek*fn1 the undersigned have read and understand, and freely and voluntarily en[t]er into this Release and Hold Harmless Agreement with DMS FARM understanding that this Release and Hold ...