Sales Disputes Involving a Horse’s Age
Disputes occasionally occur when a buyer purchases a horse that is represented as being one age when, it later turns out, the horse is many years older. Does the buyer have a case against the seller?
Lawyers will ask their clients, the buyers, whether the fact they thought was misrepresented (here, the horses’ ages) was material to them in making the purchase. The word “material,” in the legal sense, means very important. In essence, the question comes down to how important the horse's age was to the buyer when he or she decided to buy the horse at the specified price. If the seller wrongly represented the horse’s age in a material way, and if the horse’s age was material to the buyer, the buyer might have grounds for legal recourse under a theory of “material misrepresentation” or fraud.
To some people, four years is a major age difference in a horse, but to others a 4 years difference might be nothing; a veterinarian might even affirm that the horse is in excellent condition for the use the buyer has in mind.
Sales disputes can involve many other legal theories, such as:
- breach of contract,
- breach of implied or express warranties,
- violation of an applicable uniform commercial code, or
- violation of a state consumer protection or deceptive trade practice law.
Buyers who believe they bought a misrepresented horse have a few options:
- Call off the sale, and ask to return the horse for a refund. Lawyers call this “rescission.” Pursuing it is not as easy as hauling the horse back to the seller. If the seller refuses to comply, the buyer might need permission from a proper court.
- Keep the horse, but seek reimbursement for what was paid over the horse’s fair market value. Where allowed by law, the buyer might be able to seek reimbursement of additional losses or expenses.
- In some states, consumer protection laws or deceptive trade practice laws might give buyers more rights. For example, many of these laws allow buyers to win back their legal fees and sometimes even win back double or triple the amount of their losses. These laws vary greatly across the country.
Julie Fershtman is considered to be one of the nation's leading attorneys in the field of equine law. A frequent author and speaker on legal issues, she has written over 400 published articles, three 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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Honors & Recognitions
Equine lawyer, Julie Fershtman, has recieved 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
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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 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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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.
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