Frankly Speaking: Legal Comments Provide Food For Thought

Facebook has revolutionized communication. It has connected farriers globally for the betterment of the trade. You can share work to get the advice of others, provide thoughtful advice for a fellow farrier or see what’s going on at a clinic you couldn’t attend.

But while there are tremendous benefits from using Facebook, are there potential legal consequences awaiting farriers on it?

Liability Concerns

A few months ago, I spoke with a farrier who was concerned that by answering rider or trainer questions in Facebook groups, whether he would be at risk of a lawsuit should a problem arise afterward. I don’t think that the problem would have to relate to the actual advice — just the perception of it to the rider or trainer.

Curious, I spoke to a Midwestern equine attorney, who gave us some insight while asking to forgo attribution because the subject of digital-based malpractice has never been part of her practice. There also is hesitancy to have these observations be mistaken as legal advice. There are too many state-by-state variations of law that make giving legal advice impossible for one article. However, her first observation doesn’t require any legal expertise.

“This is a litigious society, but you don’t need my legal opinion to know that,” the attorney says. “People sue over anything; the risk of litigation is always present. So, to give advice to anyone online could potentially set you up for consequence for litigation.”

She says there isn’t a bullet-proof, catch-all phrase that will protect…

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Jeremy_mcgovern

Jeremy McGovern

Jeremy McGovern has been a journalist for nearly 20 years. He has been a member of the American Farriers Journal staff for 7 years and serves as the Executive Editor/Publisher. A native of Indiana, he also is a member of the board of directors for the American Horse Publications organization of equine media.

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