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Stablemen’s Lien Laws – Part 1: What They Are

Almost all states have laws on the books that are specifically designed to give lien rights to horse boarding stables.  Some of these laws also give special lien rights to people who provide services to horses, such as veterinarians or farriers.  These laws are often referred to as “stablemen’s lien laws” or “agisters lien laws.”  They differ widely across the country and usually explain:

  • Whether a stable can have a lien on a boarded horse.
  • How the stable can secure a lien on a boarded horse.
  • How many months must pass without payment of board before a stable can enforce its lien rights by selling the horse or by sending notices announcing a sale.
  • Whether the stablemen’s lien sale must take place through a public auction, “public sale,” private auction on the stable’s property, or through other means.
  • What procedures, if any, the stable must undertake before the horse can be sold to satisfy the debt.  For example, in some states the stable must send special notice letters to the non-paying horse owner.  Other states, such as Ohio, require the stable to advertise legal notices of the forthcoming sale in the local newspaper.  A few others, such as California and Massachusetts, may require the stable to go to court and ask a judge to approve a lien sale before it takes place.
  • Who must conduct the sale.  Some laws requires a court officer to do this, and others may allow a public auction sale).
  • Whether the stable may insist on keeping the boarded horse in its possession before the sale occurs.  For example, Wisconsin and Michigan are two of many states that allow stables to keep possession of the boarded horses until they have been fully paid.
  • What, if anything, the stable must do after the sale if the sale brings in more money than the amount of the debt.  Some states, such as Texas, require the stable to refund any excess money to the horse owner.

What is a Lien?

At the heart of the stablemen’s laws is a lien.  A “lien” is a legal claim to hold onto or to sell certain types of property belonging to someone else, as security for payment of a debt.  When applied to a horse, the lien makes the horse become collateral to secure the payment of board (and sometimes, depending on the law, to secure payment of related charges, such as training fees).  Those who hold liens often have the power to hold onto the property and to keep it from being sold, transferred, or moved.  What also makes liens especially powerful is that they can potentially allow the one who holds them the right to sell off the property.

These laws can be complicated and vary widely from state to state.  Stables seeking to utilize these laws for a non-paying boarder must follow the applicable law to the letter.  Legal counsel can be a must.  Part II, which I will publish next week, discusses how these laws differ.

Categories: Boarding, Regulatory, Sales/Disputes, Veterinary Malpractice

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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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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

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

Our Equine law blog (and its author) in the news!

Julie Fershtman, author of our popular and prolific Equine Law Blog, was interviewed by the State Bar of Michigan. The interview, which called Fershtman "Lawyer-Blogger," discussed our Equine Law Blog. We truly believe that this blog is the nation's most active blog serving the equine industry on equine law topics, and we thank you for visiting it. Read more here.

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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