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?
Every state has some form of a small claims court situated within each county to resolve disputes involving relatively small amounts of money. The maximum amount of money within the jurisdiction of the small claims court varies from state to state. States also could differ on what a small claims court is empowered to do.
Compared to the traditional court system where lawyers are involved, small claims court offers numerous benefits, including:
- No Lawyer. Small claims courts allow people to represent themselves and organize their own legal claims or defenses. In some states, lawyers are not permitted to represent parties in small claims court.
- Cost. Small claims court can spare you the cost of paying legal fees.
- Speed. Most small claims courts schedule a hearing soon after the case is filed.
The problem is, your lawsuit seeking rescission of a horse sale could very well exceed the small claims court’s jurisdiction because you would be asking the court to award you more than reimbursement of your money. Before filing a small claims court case on your own, learn about limitations on the court’s authority.
This article is not intended to constitute legal advice. It is designed to help you resolve minor legal matters in which no attorney is involved. Where specific questions arise based on particular situations, consult with a knowledgeable attorney.
Julie Fershtman 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.View All Posts by Author ›
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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
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In 2022, Julie Fershtman is scheduled to be a speaker on equine liability at these conventions:
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- National Conference on Equine Law, Lexington, Kentucky – May 4, 2022
- IRMI Agribusiness Conference (“AgriCon”), Sacramento, California – March 8, 2022
- New York State Bar Association Equine Law Symposium (virtual conference) – February 9, 2022
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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.
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