A request by the State of Nebraska to dismiss a portion of a lawsuit against it in connection with an incident at Chadron State Park was denied in Dawes County District Court.
Judge Travis O’Gorman denied the motion to dismiss last week, allowing Arthur Peters’ portion of a lawsuit he has filed with his wife Margaret to proceed. The couple is suing the state after Margaret was injured during a trail ride at Chadron State Park in 2016.
The Fort Collins, Colo., residents filed their lawsuit in May after the State Claims Board denied their claim against the state in December 2017. According to court documents, the couple were visiting Chadron State Park in June 2016 and signed up for a trail ride with guides Brooke Roes and Ryan Garlington. During the ride, the horse Roes was using was spooked by a utility vehicle on the trail, throwing Roes and hitting Margaret’s horse hard enough to partially dislodge her from the saddle.
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Margaret believed her only choices were to jump from her horse or be thrown and chose to jump. During the course of the incident, Margaret injured her right knee, requiring three surgeries to date and has only 80 percent range of motion, court documents indicate. She is now also facing hip surgery due to complications from the use of crutches following her knee surgeries, the lawsuit alleges. Margaret is seeking damages related to her disabilities, medical bills exceeding $50,000, lost wages, physical pain and suffering.
Her husband Arthur’s portion of the lawsuit, which O’Gorman ruled could continue, seeks damages related to the loss of consortium with his wife.
The lawsuit alleges that Chadron State Park knew the horse Roes was riding spooked easily, that the guides were inexperienced and that the UTV should have been removed from the trail prior to the horseback ride. Court documents allege the UTV was requested to leave the area, but the park’s radios were not working properly.