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Papers, Papers - Who has the Papers? Part I – Legal Rights in Registration Paper Disputes

Two months ago you bought the mare you always wanted.  Your goal was to win championships in breed-recognized horse shows and then retire the mare for breeding.  A terrible problem has derailed your plans:  The seller will not transfer the horse's registration papers into your name.  Your arsenal of weapons is limited -- there is no written sales contract, but you recall the seller promising to send you the horse's papers "right away" the day you gave him your money (a promise he now denies ever making).

What are the buyer's options in these types of situations?  Here are a few of them:

  • Sue the seller to fulfill (or to "specifically perform") his promise of transferring the horse's papers into your name.  This option, although it seems easy, can be very complex.  Courts may be unwilling to grant this remedy, known as "specific performance," unless you can convincingly prove: (1) the horse is unique, and only with its registration papers in your name will it have value; and (2) there is no other legal remedy, aside from getting the registration papers in your name, that will adequately compensate you in this situation. The sad fact is, if the seller lacks registration papers and cannot convey them to you, you are left to pursue other legal options.
  • Sue the seller to nullify ("rescind") the sale, take back the horse, and compensate you.  In a case of this type, you would assert that the seller sold the horse to you through a fraudulent deception - he represented the horse had transferable registration papers, when, in reality, he had none.  A lawsuit of this type tries to restore everyone's position as though there had never been a sale.  That is, you would demand, at a minimum, that the seller take back the horse, refund your full purchase price, and reimburse you for all expenses you incurred in keeping the horse.  In most states, small claims courts cannot handle these disputes.
  • Sue the seller to recover the difference between the horse's value with papers (which you thought you bought) and the horse's value without the papers (which you actually bought).  This option makes sense if you want to keep the horse, and you would seek to recover the overpayment.
  • Other options.  Other options against the seller might include a lawsuit alleging a violation of an applicable state's consumer protection/deceptive trade practice law, violation of provisions in a state Uniform Commercial Code, and more.  Because of complexities in the law and variations among states, your lawyer can help you explore your options.

Part II of this series explores how to avoid these disputes.  Keep in mind that a knowledgeable lawyer can help you avoid or respond to a sales dispute.

Categories: Sales/Disputes

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is considered to be one of the nation's leading attorneys in the field of equine law. She has successfully tried equine cases before juries in four states. A frequent author and speaker on legal issues, she has written over 400 published articles, four books, and has lectured at seminars, conventions, and conferences in 29 states on issues involving law, liability, risk management, and insurance. For more information, please also visit www.fershtmanlaw.com and www.equinelaw.net, and www.equinelaw.info.

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Contact Us - Julie Fershtman

"Julie Fershtman is considered by many to be the nation's leading expert on equine activity liability acts. Her 30-minute presentation for a recent educational webinar on equine activity liability acts for the American Horse Council is available for viewing. Please take a look, here's a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCROISSPMJs

Fershtman’s Equine Law Book Wins Fourth National Award

Julie Fershtman’s latest book, Equine Law and Horse Sense, won its fourth national award on May 31, 2021. It was selected to receive a "Finalist" Medal in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. 

The 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards are presented by Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group, which is the largest International awards program for indie authors and independent publishers. Here’s a link for the complete list of 2021 winners and finalists: https://www.indiebookawards.com/winners.php?year=2021 

Fershtman’s Equine Law Book Receives Third National Award

Julie Fershtman’s book, Equine Law & Horse Sense, published by the American Bar Association, has been selected to receive a 2020 NYC Big Book Award in the category of “Reference” books.

The NYC Big Book Awards draws nominations world-wide. This is the third award for Fershtman’s book since its publication last year. Here is a link for more information, and to see the list of winners: https://www.nycbigbookaward.com/2020winners

Information on the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/164105493X/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i0

Equine Blog Ranked in Feedspot

Foster Swift's Equine Law Blog was ranked #8 in Feedspot.com's "15 Best Equine Law Blogs and Websites".

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

In 2022, Julie Fershtman is scheduled to be a speaker on equine liability at these conventions:

Fershtman’s Equine Law Book Receives Second National Award

Julie Fershtman’s book, Equine Law & Horse Sense, published by the American Bar Association, has been selected to receive a 2020 NYC Big Book Award in the category of “Reference” books.

The NYC Big Book Awards draws nominations world-wide. This is the third award for Fershtman’s book since its publication last year. Here is a link for more information, and to see the list of winners: https://www.nycbigbookaward.com/2020winners

Information on the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/164105493X/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i0

Honors & Recognitions

Equine lawyer, Julie Fershtman, has received these prestigious equine industry awards from respected equine organizations:

"Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award" - American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Law Section Animal Law Committee

"Distinguished Service Award" - American Youth Horse Council

"Industry Service Award" - Michigan Equine Partnership

"Catalyst Award"- Michigan Horse Council

"Outstanding Achievement Award" - American Riding Instructors Association 

"Partner in Safety Award" - American Riding Instructors Association 

"Associate Service Award" - United Professional Horseman's Association

"National Partnership in Safety" Award" - Certified Horsemanship Association 

Some of our Equine Law Services

Handling breach of contract, fraud/ misrepresentation, commercial code, and other claims involving equine-related transactions including purchases/sales, leases, mare leases/foal transfers, and partnerships.

Litigating a wide variety of equine-related disputes in court or through alternative dispute resolution (arbitration, mediation, facilitation).

Defending equine/farm/equestrian industry professionals,  businesses, and associations in personal injury claims and lawsuits.

Drafting and negotiating contracts for boarding, training, sales, waivers/releases, leases, and numerous other equine-related transactions.

Representing and advising insurers on  coverage and policy language as well as litigation;

Advising equine industry clubs and associations regarding management, rules, bylaws, disputes, and regulations.

Representing some of the equine industry's top trainers, competitors, stables, and associations.

Counseling industry professionals, stable managers, and individual horse owners. 

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, US Hunter/Jumper Association Annual Meeting, Midwest Horse Fair, Equitana USA, US Dressage Federation Annual Meeting, North American Riding for the Handicapped (now PATH International) 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 directly.

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