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Family’s trauma after dog attack leaves horses ‘covered in blood’

A rider whose horse was badly bitten and her children terrified in a dog attack wants to raise awareness of similar situations.

Sarah Casavieille-Iacaze’s nine-year-old gelding was put down just before Christmas, six months after the dog attacked her family as they hacked out in woods near their home in Devon last Father’s Day.

Sarah told H&H she, her husband and their two daughters are still living with the after-effects of the incident.

“I haven’t had a full night’s sleep since,” she said.

“The girls are absolutely terrified of dogs now, I am having flashbacks, I’ve had endless treatment for whiplash and internal bruising. My horse has been gone six weeks now and I’m still crying; it’s a huge loss to us all as he was such a special horse.”

Sarah said she was riding her horse Jack, with her then-six-year-old daughter alongside on her own pony, while her husband was riding his bike, with their then-four-year-old daughter on the back.

“We met this woman with a dog, not on the lead, and it looked lively,” Sarah said. “She said it didn’t like horses so we said we’d take the track to the left.

“Later, the track forks; we went on one and my husband the other so he could video my daughter cantering. The next thing, I heard my four-year-old absolutely screaming. I shouted back and heard my husband say: ‘The dog’s loose, and it’s coming to get you’.”

Sarah said the dog plunged down the bank separating the two tracks and “went straight for my daughter’s pony”.

“I couldn’t get to her so I just said: ‘Drop the reins and hold on to the front of the saddle’,” Sarah said. “Luckily, Bluey was amazing.”

But the pony reared several times to avoid the dog, Sarah’s daughter fell and the pony ran off, followed by the dog.

“Then the dog came back,” Sarah said. “I shouted to my daughter to get behind a tree, out of the way, as the dog was determined to attack my horse.

“Jack was bucking and rearing, the bites were horrific, then the dog went for me. He grabbed my leg and was hanging off my ankle while I was still on the horse. My daughter was in hysterics as her pony and my horse were covered in blood and I couldn’t do anything.

“I shouted to my husband for help so he left our other daughter on the bike and ran straight down the bank to us.

“Jack was amazing. The dog eventually pulled me off and I was underneath him, with the dog still attached, but he stayed by my side and didn’t trample me.”

Sarah said eventually, her husband was able to force the dog to let go and its owner took it away. The family led the horses home, where they received veterinary attention and the police were called.

After extensive treatment and rehabilitation, it appeared Jack was “slowly starting to recover”, but Sarah said he started napping when he returned to work. He was diagnosed with gastric ulcers, believed to be caused by the stress of the attack.

“And he never came right,” she added. “He had so much treatment, but he just wasn’t coming right and he started having wobbles.

“Then they found he had a neck lesion sitting on his spinal cord and he had to be put down two days before Christmas — I couldn’t even keep him as a companion.

“I’d only owned him three months before the attack; I’d had him vetted and I’d been eventing and hunting him; he was absolutely fine. And everyone – the healer, the vet, the acupuncturist – all said Jack was suffering delayed-onset post-traumatic stress.”

After a long process, the owner of the dog has now been given a conditional caution, for being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control, causing injury, and has to pay £400 to Sarah. She said she was also told by police that the dog died last autumn in a “freak accident”.

“The whole thing was horrendous,” Sarah said. “And this – £400 doesn’t even cover the cost of putting my horse down.

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“This has been really, really sad; it’s taken such a toll on my family. We’ve lost a wonderful horse, had a huge financial loss and had to go through such trauma for months.

“People need to be aware of what can happen, what dogs can do if they’re not under their owners’ control, and the aftermath, because it was horrendous.

“In this situation, people do need to go to the police but owners must keep their dogs under control in public. I want my family, friends and the public to be able to enjoy the area we live in, free from the fear of this happening again, and move on with our lives. I could not bear it if another person, animal or, in particular, a child got hurt.”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

Original Source File

The Lost War Horses of Cairo: a moving tribute to Dorothy Brooke’s passion

Dorothy Brooke with one of the patients at her Cairo hospital.

Author Grant Hayter-Manzies’ moving tribute highlights the remarkable life of Dorothy Brooke, founder of international welfare charity, Brooke.

The Lost War Horses of Cairo: The Passion of Dorothy Brooke chronicles Dorothy’s travels to Cairo where she discovered thousands of suffering former British war horses.

Dorothy established the Old War Horse Memorial Hospital, where respite was provided for these exhausted animals.

The story provides an in-depth exploration of historical events, human-horse relationships and Dorothy’s tireless work to make a difference.

The legacy of the Old War Horse Memorial Hospital and its founder lives on through Brooke’s continued efforts to improve the lives of working equines throughout the world.

Two old friends

Credit: Searight Collection

One particularly moving anecdote involves a pair of gharry (carriage) horses (pictured above), who arrived at the hospital together.

One of the horses was in a particularly poor condition and Dorothy decided the kindest thing to do was to put him to sleep.

“No sooner had the incapacitated horse limped to the shed than Dorothy heard the piebald [companion] whinnying as if in pain. She hurried into the stables, where she found him “in a terrible state of mind,” she recalled, “pawing desperately at his straw with his battered old legs and deformed feet. . . . Moreover he was shaking all over and, as he was blind in one eye, he had his head turned over his shoulder on the side he could see,” stabled as he was in the Egyptian way, with his face toward the wall. Still unsure what to do, Dorothy had bran mash brought to distract him, but the piebald wanted something else and was so desperate for it that this treat, something that in his long life of Egyptian labor he can never have hoped to taste again, meant nothing to him. This is when Dorothy realized that he was looking for his old friend.

The stables at Brooke Hospital, Cairo. Credit: Searight Collection

“Dorothy had a syce bring over from the “condemned” yard a horse the groom thought might be the piebald’s mate. But it was not. He led several over, each in their turn. None were the mate the piebald was seeking; and it was terrible to watch as he continued to strain to see over his shoulder, stamping and whinnying in agitation. Desperate to fix her mistake, Dorothy asked the stableman to lead the piebald himself over to the condemned yard, to see if he could find his friend himself.

This photograph is one of many that Dorothy took to show the level of degradation of the former war horses and army mules her charity took in. This horse would have been worked in this condition. Credit: Richard Searight Collection

““Anxiously, the old boy shambled across the yard,” Dorothy wrote, “and along two rows of waiting horses . . . until, coming to a miserable old crock, he stopped and nickered softly.”

The piebald and his mate, noses bobbing against the other, had been reunited.

Both horses were taken back to the stable. They were given bran mash, which they ate happily, heads together, tails twitching. Then they were taken out again and euthanized simultaneously.”

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Jordan, one of the handful of former war horses, rescued in Egypt from near death, whom Dorothy was able to heal sufficiently to be returned to England. Credit: Searight Collection

The Lost War Horses of Cairo: The Passion of Dorothy Brooke was published by Allen & Unwin UK on 1 February, 2018.

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For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday

Original Source File

Sudden death of star stallion leaves team ‘heartbroken’

Showjumper Chloe Reid has paid tribute to her “partner of a lifetime”.

The 22-year-old rider from the United States announced the sad news that Codarco (Cody) had died on Tuesday (2 February).

An autopsy revealed that he had been suffering from cancer of the abdomen. He had only shown signs of ilness for less than a week.

Cody, an 11-year-old stallion by Darco, finished third in last July’s five-star grand prix in Falsterbo and achieved a double clear for Team USA in the Nations Cup at the same event.

Chloe and Cody also jumped clears in the Nations Cup in Sopot and Wellington in March.

Chloe released an emotive tribute to her star partner and explained that their relationship hadn’t always been plain sailing.

“The day I first sat on you was the worst trial I have ever had,” she said.

“I was so incredibly nervous and intimidated by your power that I couldn’t find a distance. I will never forget how we trotted into the combination and crashed out through the oxer, yet you continued to keep jumping and safely carry me round.

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“While I’ve had numerous riders tell me over the years that they tried and passed on the opportunity to purchase you, I will feel for ever fortunate that you choose me to be your rider. Even though you could have had way more success with any of the more experienced riders, I was the lucky one who got to take you home.

“Thank you for being my partner of a lifetime. You are leaving so many people heartbroken and one little girl who will never forget you.”

Chloe thanked Palm Beach Equine Clinic for the care they gave Cody in his final days, her vet Jack Snyder, her groom, Sigrun Land, and trainer, Markus Berrbaum.

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday

Original Source File

Meet Digby, the UK’s first guide horse

The UK’s first guide horse has been matched with a partially sighted partner.

American miniature horse Digby will be assisting Blackburn-based Mohammed Salim Patel once he has completed his training.

Mohammed, who has a degenerative visual impairment, has a phobia of dogs and had resigned himself to never having an assistance animal.

However, Digby’s owner and trainer, Katy Smith, introduced him to the idea of a guide horse.

“I’ve always like horses and went riding as a child,” Mohammed told H&H.

“Katy approached me before Digby was born saying she was planning to train a guide horse and I snapped up the offer. I’d love to be the first person to receive a guide horse.

“Digby has a wonderful temperament, he’s up for anything and remains calm and collected.

“At the moment I’m reliant on family and friends, but Digby would alleviate that.”

It is hoped the eight-month-old colt will start his new life with Mohammed in around two years time.

Mohammed is planning to stable Digby in his garden and has a nearby equestrian centre where he can receive a larger turnout area if needed.

Katy is delighted at the bond the pair has struck up during their initial meetings.

“Digby is a little super star,” she told H&H. “I’m really pleased for Mohammed — they already seem to have a connection which is really good.

“He’s taking everything in his stride and has made loads of progress.”

Digby is undergoing a training programme, similar to that of a guide dog, and is currently at the “puppy walking” stage.

He is being familiarised with busy situations and is hoped to carry out all the tasks a guide dog would, such as helping Mohammed cross roads, get to work and visit the shops, as well as providing companionship.

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Katy and Mohammed have been in discussions with Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and the Environment Agency to expand legislation to allow guide horses inside buildings as well as guide dogs.

Digby will wear “thunder pants” when he is working, which collect his manure in a bag for appropriate disposal.

Look out for further analysis on the future prospect of guide horses in Horse & Hound magazine

Original Source File

Puncture wounds in horses: all you need to know

Hind leg injury in field

Far too often, the first sign that you horse has suffered a puncture wound is a swollen, inflamed and infected area, where a puncture has been initially overlooked. This is particularly true of horses’ legs, where infection can spread extensively, and the whole leg may swell.

Look carefully for puncture wounds in any swollen area and when checking your horse over after exercise or turnout. Many are tiny and hard to see. Clues include a trickle of blood or a sensitive spot when you run your hands over the area, which may be combined with localised swelling. If you have a pair of suitable trimmers, carefully clipping the hair away from around the area will make it easier to see what is going on.

Once you have located the injury, bear in mind that small wounds can have serious consequences. The damage caused is dependent on the depth of the wound, how dirty it is and whether any vital structures are involved. A puncture wound can be fatal if it reaches a vital organ such as the brain, chest, abdomen or the inside of the foot.

Many first aid manuals warn you to look out for so-called ‘joint fluid’, an oily, clear to yellow substance, and that if you see this discharging from a wound, a joint could be involved. In reality, a wound is often far too messy to spot this, and many innocent superficial wounds discharge clear or yellow serum, which can appear similar.

Assess the wound to see if it is near a joint or other critical structure, such as the digital tendon sheath behind the pastern. Remember that some joints, such as the elbow, are very large. An injury that seems some distance away from the bending part of the joint may still communicate with it. Equally, infection can spread towards it.

In all cases a vet should be called to assess a puncture wound, or a suspected puncture wound, as it is often more serious that it initially appears and the sooner it receives expert attention, the more likely the horse will be able to make a rapid recovery.

Treatment for puncture wounds in horses

  • Clip the coat and carefully clean around a puncture wound using saline and cotton wool. Do not spray the wound directly with water, or apply any chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide. This could force contamination deeper, making potential infection worse
  • Apply a clean bandage and use a hydrogel on the wound. Your vet may recommend you apply a poultice to draw out any debris
  • Ensure your horse has been vaccinated against tetanus. These wounds provide the ideal environment for the bacteria that cause tetanus to flourish. All horses and ponies should be routinely vaccinated, but if you horse is not protected, they will need to be vaccinated when a wound is discovered

Potential risks of puncture wounds in horses

  • A foreign body could be stuck inside the wound, so ask yourself what could have caused the puncture. Be careful about introducing further infection by probing into the wound – leave this to your vet
  • Is it really a puncture? Two puncture points close together could be a snake bite, while a hole draining pus may be a burst abscess
  • Consider whether your horse is more lame than one would expect for the size of the wound and let the vet know when you speak to them.

If you found this useful, you might also be interested in:

Keep up to date with the latest veterinary advice and news in the Vet Clinic pages in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday, or join H&H VIP to read these expert vet articles online.

H& 16 Sept 2003

Original Source File

New boss for British equestrianism

nick fellows

Nick Fellows has been appointed as the new chief executive of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF).

He will take over from interim chief executive Nicki Kavanagh and interim chief operating officer David Ingle on 26 March.

Clare Salmon, the last permanent chief executive, resigned in July 2017, following a year in the role.

Nick is currently the chief executive of the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association (CPSA) and has previously worked with British Shooting and the British Olympic Association.

He is a former head of the Olympic Medical Institute and interim director for Bucks and Milton Keynes County Sports Partnership.

He has also worked as a manager for Newsquest Media Group and as a director of National Sports Medicine Institute.

Nick is currently a director of British Shooting and sits on the board of the English Target Shooting Federation.

Nick said he is “hugely honoured” to take on the position and “can’t wait to get started”.

“The BEF, along with its member bodies, has a great track record of winning medals at major events, including the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and [Britain] is rightly regarded as one of the leading equestrian nations,” he said.

“My experience of working with the World Class programme team at the Olympic Medical Institute has given me some insight into the sport and the various facets it embraces.

“I am looking forward to meeting and understanding the objectives of the wide range of member bodies and the key people throughout the BEF, both staff and athletes, who together deliver the successful outcomes.

“My experience at British Shooting, a similar organisation in many respects, will help me to appreciate the role of the BEF in relation to member bodies.

“[For example] how we may work to best effect to add value, whilst my current role at the CPSA is within a body that’s very similar to many of the BEF’s members.”

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Ed Warner, BEF interim chair, said he is delighted to confirm Nick as the new chief executive.

“His leadership and management experience in both public and private sectors, and work with multi-disciplinary teams across performance and grassroots sport, will further strengthen our organisation as it builds for the future,” he added.

“I would like to thank Nicki and David for supporting the BEF so professionally and enthusiastically since August 2017.”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday

Original Source File

What is retirement livery and would it suit me and my horse?

Library image

If your horse is approaching his or her later years or has suffered a career-ending injury, you’ll find you have to make some hard choices. They can’t be ridden anymore, and the hustle and bustle of a busy livery yard may become too stressful for a horse who might have complex medical needs, or struggles to get along in a herd of younger horses. If, like most owners, you don’t have a field out the back of your house where you can peacefully retire your best friend, one option that is growing in popularity is retirement livery.

Oonagh Meyer, head of approvals at the British Horse Society (BHS) says: “These are generally full livery yards, which cater specifically for elderly or retired horses. It can be an expensive option depending upon how the horses are managed.

“Make sure you research and visit any establishment before placing your horse in their care. It can be daunting trusting your horse with someone, and although there are plenty of retirement livery yards around, it is important to know that the standards of care are as high as you expect. That is why the BHS runs its livery yard approval scheme, providing reassurance to horse owners.”

Retirement livery can be cheaper than full livery, depending on where in the country you live, while it’s typically more expensive than DIY due to the care levels provided. Prices average from £40 to £65 per week. The yard typically provides full care, but not facilities humans want like arenas, tack rooms, and warm lounges.

At most retirement livery yards, the horses are turned out in a herd, which is usually quieter and more stable than herds with horses coming and going. Nicky van Dijk, who runs Happy Horse Retirement Home in Brecon, Wales, explains: “The horses are back to nature; back to the herding instinct. They do everything together. A lot come from competition yards where horses are coming and going, but they can relax here because every horse is doing the same thing.”

Horses at Nicky’s yard are out 24/7 in summer and stabled at night in the winter.

She goes on to explain: “When owners bring horses, they ask, can I get my horse in and groom it? I prefer them not too because it causes the other horses to gallop back and forth.”

That’s probably the biggest different between normal full livery and retirement livery: you completely hand over the care of your horse. You can visit the horse, but you might not be allowed to take it out of the field and do what you like with it. Nicky observes: “Choosing retirement livery is an unselfish decision. They’re doing it for the horse.”

Many of the owners live far away. Nicky says she has horses from Dubai, France, and Spain, as well as all over the UK. Cheryl Bray, the owner of a retirement yard in Gloucester, has an owner from the United States

“She may be able to visit in a few years,” Cheryl explains. “She has a pony that’s been a recurrent laminitis sufferer for 10 years. She was going to have him put to sleep to secure a pain free/worry-free future, but then she learned about our place through a friend.”

Because you might live nowhere near the yard, make sure it is trustworthy, providing excellent care. Cheryl tells H&H: “Best advice I can give is to visit the yard, get references and make sure you can visit unannounced.” She adds: “I’ve actually never had a livery owner turn up unannounced, but it is written into the contracts that they can if they want to.”

With geriatric horses and absentee owners, it goes without saying that the yard owner deals with a lot of medical issues and will ultimately be the one who makes the call as to when is the right time to put the horse to sleep. Owners need to be comfortable with that.

Nicky says: “[The yard owner] needs a lot of medical knowledge, like a human care home. We can tell when it’s time to let them go – we know the horses so well. We discuss it with the owner, but it’s our decision as the owner doesn’t see the horse. They are put down here and cremated.”

It seems like a difficult choice, sending your horse to a yard potentially hundreds of miles away and completely entrusting it’s care to someone else. But if it’s a good, conscientious retirement yard, it could be the best thing that happened to your horse.

Rowena Kennedy lives near Glasgow and her ISH gelding, Ollie, sustained a suspensory injury that meant he wasn’t able to do his previous level of work and he wasn’t suitable as a horse that hacks out now and then. The winter turnout at her yard in Scotland was hard on him.

Rowena says: “He got sore as soon as it froze. I chose the place in Devon as I’d been following it on [Facebook] for a couple years… I knew the ground would suit him, they turn them out in herds that suit the horse, boys and girls are separate, and the weather down there is better.”

It wasn’t an easy choice. Rowena reflects: “At first I found it really hard, I was used to him being at the yard. It took me years to decide to send him, but it was the best decision I made. He’s loving it down there.”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

Original Source File

Rider urges others to buy cameras after road incident

A rider whose horse was allegedly hit by a car while she was hacking out with a group from a rescue centre has urged others to use cameras while riding on the road.

Ellie Cogger, a volunteer at Free Rein Horse Rescue, captured footage of the incident in Sussex last Friday (26 January) and police have since confirmed they have served the motorist with a notice of intended prosecution.

Ellie was hacking 11-year-old ex-racehorse Apollo along with a group of four other riders at about 11.30am when she says a driver approached them from behind on a busy stretch of road.

The congested route is one Ellie usually avoids.

“All our horses are bombproof on the roads, however due to poor accessibility to our usual roads because of muddy fields, we had to take the main A265. This is something we hate doing but there is no other way in which we can exercise our horses as we don’t have a school at our yard, so we have no choice but to ride along a short stretch of the main road to get to a quieter area,” Ellie said.

“We are aware that the A265 is a busy road so we trotted round to the high street in an attempt to avoid aggravating any drivers. As we turned the second to last bend, a driver decided that he would try and squeeze past us. However, there were cars parked on the opposite side of the road and oncoming traffic.

“We all slowed our horses due to the volume of traffic in that specific area and I gestured to the driver that he needed to stay back as there was not adequate room for him.”

But Ellie claims the driver ignored her request and was seen to “shake his head”. She alleges he then drove forward into Apollo’s legs in order to push him out of the way.

Ellie claims many of the drivers coming in the opposite direction stopped after seeing the incident

She said Apollo was a “bit tender” after the incident but had no obvious bruising or swelling. The thoroughbred, who won on the track, arrived at the rescue centre following a serious tendon injury.

“I fell head over heels for him when he arrived, he is one of the gentlest horses,” said Ellie. “He works with us in our mission to rehabilitate and rehome horses as he provides comfort for a lot of less-confident horses and our youngsters.

“He was great on the roads beforehand, which was fortunate, but it has knocked his confidence a bit. I’ve only taken him out once since and that was in-hand,” she said. “I was beyond shaken up that it happened to him.”

Ellie added that all the riders were insured and were wearing high-vis at the time and there was nothing they could have done differently.

She said she would urge other road uses to invest in cameras.

“I initially bought a GoPro adapter for my iPhone to record our rides but it proved more than useful in this instance. I would encourage more riders to make this move. Just as I would encourage other road users to install dash cams.

“All road users need to be more considerate of each other.”


Continues below…

A spokesman for Sussex Police confirmed there had been a number of witnesses to the incident in which a horse appeared to have been nudged by a vehicle.

He said that the driver had been served with a notice of intended prosecution.

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

Original Source File

Fernie hunt follower dies in ‘tragic accident’

The hunt: Tanatside
The story: “A very atmospheric sunrise looking across the stubble towards the Breidden Hill on the Shropshire/Powys border. It was taken through the ears of my horse Jack on the Tanatside’s first morning out in September” — Laura Hughes

A rider has died in a “tragic accident” while he was out hunting with the Fernie.

The 54-year-old man passed away after a fall from his horse, on land off Mowsely Road, Saddington, on Wednesday this week (31 January).

A statement released for and on behalf of the Fernie read: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm that a gentleman died following a fall from his horse in a tragic accident whilst following the Fernie hounds on Wednesday.

“Our sincere condolences are with his family and friends at such a difficult time for them, and we ask that everyone respects their privacy as they overcome such a devastating and early loss.”

The statement said a coroner’s investigation is under way, and that another statement is to be released “in due course”.

It added: “In the mean time, both the hunt and the gentleman’s family would like to extend their immense thanks to the emergency services and others who were present at the accident for all their assistance at the time.”

A spokesman for Leicestershire Police said: “Police were called to a field just off Mowsley Road, Saddington, at 2.15pm on 31 January, after a man had fallen from a horse and was taken ill.

“The ambulance service attended the incident and the man was pronounced deceased at the scene. The death is not being treated as suspicious and a file is being prepared for the coroner.

“Identification of the deceased will be a matter for the coroner.”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

Original Source File

ADA Title III Lawsuits Increase by 14% Percent in 2017 Due Largely to Website Access Lawsuits; Physical Accessibility Legislative Reform Efforts Continue

By Kristina M. Launey, Minh N. Vu, & Susan Ryan

Seyfarth Synopsis:  The number of federal ADA Title III lawsuits continue to surge in 2017, fueled largely by website accessibility claims; while legislative reform efforts continue to mitigate the physical accessibility portion of those lawsuit numbers.

The results of our 2017 ADA Title III lawsuit count are in, putting a fifth consecutive year (since we began tracking in 2013) of growth in the number of ADA Title III lawsuits filed in federal court.  In 2017, 7,663 ADA Title III lawsuits were filed in federal court — 1,062 more than in 2016. While a bit slower growth than in 2016 (which saw an 1,812, or 37% year over year increase) over 2015, this 14% percent increase is almost double the 2014-2015 8% increase, demonstrating a continued upward trend in the number of filings.

ADA Title III Lawsuits in Federal Court: 2013-2017: 2013 (2722); 2014 (4436, 63% increase over 2013); 2015 (4789, 8% increase over 2014); 2016 (6601, 37% increase over 2015); 2017 (7663, 14% increase over 2016)

California and Florida continue to be hotbeds of litigation, with 2,751 and 1,488 lawsuits (up from 2,468 in CA in 2016 and down from 1,663 in FL) respectively. New York is the big story, having almost doubled its 543 lawsuits filed in 2016 to 1023 in 2017.  Utah moved up in the ranks, with a more than doubling of federal lawsuit filings, from 124 to 360. Nevada, not in the top 10 states for filings in 2016, is relatively close behind with 276 lawsuits, while the 2016 holder of the fifth spot, Texas, dropped to number nine, cutting its 267 2016 number down by more than half, to 129.  Arizona, with 335 lawsuit filings in 2016, dropped out of the top 10 in 2017.  Colorado’s numbers also more than doubled, from 92 in 2016 to 215 in 2017; and New Jersey newly entered the top 10 this year with 108 lawsuits.  Georgia, held its sixth spot on the chart, also holding fairly steady at 187 lawsuits, a slight decrease from the 193 filed in 2016.  Finally, Pennsylvania showed relatively modest growth, increasing by 80 lawsuits over its 102 2016 count.  Here are the numbers for the top ten states:

  1. CA: 2751
  2. FL: 1488
  3. NY: 1023
  4. UT: 360
  5. NV: 276
  6. CO: 215
  7. GA: 187
  8. PA: 182
  9. TX: 129
  10. NJ: 108
Top 10 States for ADA Title III Federal Lawsuits in 2016: CA (2751); FL (1488); NY (1023); UT (360); NV (276); CO (215); GA (187); PA (182); TX (129); NJ (108)

Similar to last year, while physical accessibility lawsuits remain common, these numbers continue to be driven largely by the vast numbers of website accessibility lawsuit filings, many by new attorneys in familiar (CA, FL, NY) jurisdictions.  The extreme increase in New York is likely due at least in part to 2017 federal court decisions that have likely embolded plaintiffs’ attorneys in that jurisdiction.  Note that these numbers of course do not include the many demand letters plaintiffs sent to businesses asserting website accessibility claims, do not include lawsuits filed only in state courts, and are conservative estimates, as our research methods are sound in finding at least the numbers we report here, and it is entirely likely we have not captured every ADA Title III filed in federal court.

Meanwhile, Congress has continued legislative efforts to provide business some relief from “drive-by” physical accessibility lawsuits.  The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, introduced January 24, 2017 as H.R. 620 by Texas Representative Ted Poe, would, among other things, codify a “notice and cure period” that would prohibit a plaintiff from filing a lawsuit based on failure to remove an architectural barrier unless the plaintiff has first given the businesses notice of the alleged violations and an opportunity to provide a plan to address them.  On October 30, 2018, the House Committee on the Judiciary reported the bill, and it is scheduled for referral to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution and Civil Justice on February 8, 2017.  Some states also continued their own legislative reform efforts, such as Florida HB 727, effective July 1, 2017; and in Nevada the State Attorney General intervened in a federal ADA Title III lawsuit by a serial plaintiff who had filed at least 275 lawsuits seven months.

We will, as always, continue to keep tracking lawsuit filings, legislative efforts, and other breaking developments and keep you up to date — as the Title III trend shows no signs of cooling down in 2018.

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