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Foster Swift: Equine Law

Honors & Recognitions

Congratulations, Julie! We're proud to share that Julie Fershtman has received two prestigious awards.

On April 13, 2013, she received the American Youth Horse Council's 2013 "Distinguished Service" Award. As the award itself states, she received it "[i]n recognition of years of dedicated service to the American Youth Horse Council and tireless efforts to touch the lives of youth involved with horses." For more information about the American Youth Horse Council, please visit www.ayhc.com/.

On May 7, 2013, Julie received the 2013 "Industry Award" from the Michigan Equine Partnership for her work over the years supporting legislation to promote and protect the Michigan equine industry. For more information about the Michigan Equine Partnership, please visit www.miequine.com/.

RECENT EQUINE LAW COURTROOM VICTORY

We're pleased to share that Julie just won a case in Michigan where she defended a boarding and training stable that was sued by a visitor who was injured in the barn aisle. Julie cautions that this case might have been avoided altogether if the stable required every visitor to sign its waiver/release of liability. (Julie, interestingly, drafted that stable's release document years ago but the stable only presented it to customers.) Make sure that your release is well-worded and complies with the laws of your state.

Other Articles

"The Seller's Contract Includes an "As Is" Disclaimer – Now What?" - Desert Mirage Magazine, August 2013

"What Mare Owners Should Look for in a Typical Horse-Breeding Contracts." - America's Horse Daily, September 14, 2012

Win Equine law Books!

We're always on the lookout for good article and update ideas for the Equine Law Blog. Please share yours! We'll give the sender of best tip of the month a free copy of Julie Fershtman's books, EQUINE LAW & HORSE SENSE and MORE EQUINE LAW & HORSE SENSE. Click here to send your ideas. [For more info on these and other publications written by Julie Fershtman, please visit www.equinelaw.net and www.equinelaw.info or call her directly at (248) 785-4731.]

Large Step Forward for the Horse Industry

We applaud the American Horse Council (www.horsecouncil.org) for its national marketing initiative for the horse industry. The AHC joined together ten national associations and large corporate industry stakeholders to make this happen. We await its marketing plan, which will propose ways to help people become more interested in horses and equine activities, either as participants or spectators.

THE NATION'S MOST SOUGHT-AFTER EQUINE LAW SPEAKER

Did you know Julie Fershtman has spoken at the American Horse Council Annual Meeting, Equine Affaire, Midwest Horse Fair, Equitana USA, US Dressage Federation Annual Meeting, North American Riding for the Handicapped (now PATH International) Annual Meeting, American Morgan Horse Association Annual Meeting, American Paint Horse Association Annual Meeting, US Pony Clubs, Inc.'s Annual Meeting, All-American Quarter Horse Congress, American Youth Horse Council Annual Meeting, American Riding Instructors Association Annual Meeting, CHA Annual Meeting, and numerous others? Consider signing her up for your convention. Contact Julie.

Showing 46 posts in Sales/Disputes.

Cheap Horse – Expensive Problem

An online ad shows a beautiful horse for sale, and the buyer is drawn in. The ad describes the horse as a perfect show horse, unflappable trail horse, kid-friendly, easy-keeper, and free of vices. The price is low, and the buyer rushes to make the purchase. The buyer makes the purchase sight unseen and sends money to the seller, a total stranger. The buyer sought no veterinary pre-purchase examination and no drug screen. The parties had no written contract.

After the horse arrives, serious problems become apparent. The horse might show none of the characteristics that were so glowingly advertised. Registration papers might not exist. The horse might be seriously lame or ill. The horse might be downright dangerous or untrained. When the buyer complains, the seller refuses to rescind the deal.

Certainly, buyers in these situations may have options available to them for legal recourse. But most buyers will keep the horse rather than invest in legal fees.  Read More ›

Categories: Contracts, Sales/Disputes

Equine Gift? Equine Lease? Stop the Guesswork

For years, we’ve received calls like these:

  • “I ‘free leased’ my horse to a friend, but now she refuses to return my horse.”
  • “A neighbor let me ‘rescue’ her horse because she could no longer take care of him. Now I want to sell him, but my neighbor says I can’t do this.”

In each situation, the parties had no written contract, and nobody was ready or able to undergo an intense and costly legal battle that might follow.

Equine transactions are ripe for a legal dispute when the parties have no written contract and a completely different understanding of the same transaction. Without a contract or agreement explaining the transaction and what the parties’ intended, these types of legal matters can become lawsuits in which the outcome is never predictable. What is a virtual guarantee is that in a court of law the dispute will never be quick, easy, or cheap to litigate.  Read More ›

Categories: Contracts, Lawsuit, Sales/Disputes

What Happens When a Twitter 'Tweet' of a Few Words Becomes a Horse Industry Defamation Lawsuit?

At Foster Swift, we've successfully defended equine-related defamation litigation. Today we're sharing an interesting case from Massachusetts that arose from a "tweet" of only a few words.

The Case

The plaintiff, Feld, owned a Thoroughbred named "Munition." She allegedly sold this horse through a Craigslist ad to a dealer who allegedly promised to place "Munition" with a "loving family" that would allow the plaintiff to visit him. Unfortunately, it was strongly suspected that the dealer instead shipped him to an auction where he may thereafter been slaughtered. Some media reports and Internet chatter followed the story of "Munition's" disappearance.

The defendant, Conway, was a Thoroughbred Bloodstock Agent who became involved in a heated Internet discussion regarding "Munition's" disappearance; she posted on Twitter: “[Plaintiff] -- you are f***ing crazy!” Because of this single "tweet," the plaintiff sued for defamation, claiming that the "tweet" defamed her reputation and attacked her sanity. In response, the defendant asked the Court to dismiss the case on the basis that the "tweet" was not defamatory but instead was mere opinion and hyperbole. The court agreed. Read More ›

Categories: Defamation, Lawsuit, Sales/Disputes

Legal Aspects of the Trial Period: Three Foreseeable Problems and Ways to Avoid Them

"Try out my horse for few weeks.  See if you get along with him." 

These were the words of a sincere, well-intentioned seller who only wanted a satisfied buyer.  Could anything possibly go wrong with this trial period arrangement?   Let’s explore three possible problems and ways to avoid them. Read More ›

Categories: Insurance, Liability, Sales/Disputes

Know the Limitations of Small Claims Court

You just bought a horse but believe the seller lied to you about its health, history, and training. You want the sale reversed, the horse returned to the seller, and your purchase price returned. You also want all of your hauling expenses and veterinary bills reimbursed. Can you avoid the expense of a lawyer and sue the seller on your own in small claims court? Read More ›

Categories: Sales/Disputes

Not All Legal Disputes Warrant a Lawsuit

Is every legal dispute appropriate for a lawsuit? Not necessarily. Sometimes the dispute can be resolved quickly and amicably – as long as the parties are willing to consider an alternative to the legal system such as arbitration or mediation. Read More ›

Categories: Contracts, Sales/Disputes

Common Equine Breeding Disputes and How to Avoid Them

Horse breeding transactions can generate several disputes, including the following:

Problem

The stallion’s show or race schedule prevents its availability for breeding by cooled semen or live cover.

If the breeding will be accomplished by live cover, AI, or shipped cooled semen, which requires the stallion to be available for collection, this problem can be avoided by a contract that specifies a range of dates or months in which the stallion can be available. Read about other common disputes ›

Categories: Breeding, Sales/Disputes

Legal Aspects of Buying a Horse from a Sales Agent

Generally speaking, it is completely legal to do business with an agent in a business transaction.  An agency relationship generally exists when one person, such as a horse seller, agrees to allow another person to act on his or her behalf in a transaction. The agent acts on behalf of the “principal.”

Risks

Those who deal with parties claiming to be agents can encounter risks, such as: Read More ›

Categories: Sales/Disputes

Tips for the Novice Horse Buyer

Our office receives numerous calls from first-time horse buyers who are soured on the horse industry due to bad experiences with horse sellers. Some proceed with lawsuits. Horse buyers who proceed cautiously and seek assistance at the proper time can, in many cases, avoid disputes. This article offers some suggestions. Read More ›

Categories: Sales/Disputes

Three Written Words That Might Prevent a Lawsuit

Gene buys a mare from a horse seller across the country, and pays the full purchase price, which the seller receives. Shipping was set for the next day. As the shipper pulls in to get the horse, it is discovered that the horse has become seriously ill and dies within hours, while still at the seller’s stable. Is Gene entitled to a refund?

The answer could depend on three important words, “Risk of loss.” Read More ›

Categories: Sales/Disputes