I broke my back in a bad fall last June and have not been able to ride. In March 2013, I leased my Swedish warmblood mare to a woman from upstate New York for one year. According to our contract, at the end of the year, she had the option to return the mare to me and pay the shipping or continue the lease for another year. She was responsible for all care including vet and farrier.
Less than two months into the lease, she notified me via Facebook that she no longer wanted the mare. She stopped paying board and refused to speak with me by phone. Although she was contractually obligated to pay for the shipping back to New Jersey, she stated (via Facebook again) that she would bring the mare home until she could get a friend to trailer the horse back to New Jersey. When I pulled up a satellite photo of her property, I saw that there was no horse fencing other than the wire fence used to contain her miniature horses, so I told her the mare could not be moved to her back yard. As a result, the woman simply abandoned the mare at the boarding stable and I had to arrange for commercial transportation at a cost of $800. I also had to pay a farrier because this woman provided no hoof care.
This woman has refused to reimburse me for the shipping or farrier bill and told me I could sue her. An attorney in the area said it would not be worth the cost to hire her at $200 per hour. It seems like my only recourse is to sue in small claims court and drive five hours to court.
Does anyone have experience with a situation like this? I thought I was protected because we signed a contract. Can anyone offer any advice?
Depending on how much she owes you, you can file in small claims court. Not sure what the limit is in New York. You do not need a lawyer to file or to represent you. if you have a contract, you might well win.
But, and this is a big but, that doesn't mean you'll collect damages. If she has no money, you won't get anything other than the satisfaction of winning.
If it's not too much trouble to go after her in small claims court, then I would do that. I imagine that even if you win she will not pay you so you then have 2 choices: slap a lien on her property so she can never sell it without paying you or forgive the debt and send her her a 1099 for the amount forgiven. (Did you know that forgiven debt is a taxable event and you may not get your money from her but you can be sure the IRS will.) Again, I would only do this if it was not too much trouble and yes, I can be evil.
forgive the debt and send her her a 1099 for the amount forgiven. (Did you know that forgiven debt is a taxable event and you may not get your money from her but you can be sure the IRS will.) Again, I would only do this if it was not too much trouble and yes, I can be evil.
If you have a written lease, you are halfway to satisfaction. I believe you can file i your place of residence and have her served where she is (it will cost you xtra but hey)------------- I'd go after her
I'd file for sure in small claims court - it shouldn't be that difficult.
You have everything written in a contract that you both signed (right?), and
clearly she violated that contract.
Did you have to pay the back board to get the horse back ?
Another question - could you go after her for lawyer fees too ?
If you don't want to sue, I would plaster her name incuding city & state
on every message board you can find. Put the entire story down and
keep it factual. Once word gets out she will have a difficult time leasing
anyone's horse again, much less be able to board anywhere.
But, then again, I'm a beeyatch that way and wouldn't let someone get
away with something like this.
I took a day off work and spent a day in Trenton. NJ hauling somebody into small claims over dicking me around with a lease. I got 'em for extra training board, extra shipping I had to pay to move the horse around for them, and the pre-lease vetting I did to get a baseline on the horse before he left.
They tried the whole, "I'm going away and won't be available by phone, email or post" routine and I said tell it to the judge when you show your @$$ up and explain yourself.
Monetarily it was a loss but the satisfaction was priceless.
This woman has refused to reimburse me for the shipping or farrier bill and told me I could sue her.
Go give Miss Mare a carrot and a pat, thank your lucky stars she's back and in one piece, then go after this b**** with everything you've got.
You probably won't collect any money but if you're in a position to do so you can make her life miserable for at least a little while. Sounds to me like she's done this before and will do it again if she gets the chance.