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Spin off from PA Stableman's Lien thread(s), ? for the legal experts

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  • Spin off from PA Stableman's Lien thread(s), ? for the legal experts

    I'd like to know, since this subject has been brought to the board by three different posters, if it is possible to write a contract that is valid, that is more severe or restrictive than the legal remedy already in the books.

    Is it something you could do but expect a challenge or is it not worth trying at all?

    Why and why not?
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
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  • #2
    When boarders know that what you say or written down will be carried out they pay their board on time. No board, 15 days past due, the boarder should know in no uncertain terms that the horses will not be on premise on day 31, if board is not paid. It happens once and boarders will be timely with their board.
    The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.

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    • #3
      Well... short of going to their house personally and holding a gun to their heads, or otherwise harassing them daily, which YOU will probably get in trouble for, often no.

      I know of one farm owner who took a boarder to small claims court and won. But that person runs a very, very small backyard-ish operation and has other streams of income. They had the time and the $ to pursue.

      Really it depends on the laws of your individual state, which vary. And you many find that even if you pay a lawyer to look into it in advance, that once it comes to court, the judge does not agree with the lawyer you hired to figure it all out for you in the first place.

      In my area of the world by the time you have gone through the motions and even if you CAN sell the horse, that $ may come no where close to covering what you lost in care and feeding. And some states have more specific laws saying that you HAVE to take care of the critter whether owner is delinquent on the board bills or not.

      And while occasionally someone may abandon their exwife's fancy show horse, most of the time people who are abandoning horses are too poor to pay the bills in the first place. And their critters ain't exactly top of the line either.
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      • #4
        You need to follow the law. Most, if not all states have an agister's lien process that must be followed. You can write whatever you want in your contract, but you must follow the law. That's why it's important to have a local attorney go over your contracts.

        My personal philosophy is to get them out of here ASAP even if the boarder owes me back board. At least I'm not accumulating more expenses....then I can go after them in small claims court.

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        • #5
          Yes, get them out the door.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by ReSomething View Post
            I'd like to know, since this subject has been brought to the board by three different posters, if it is possible to write a contract that is valid, that is more severe or restrictive than the legal remedy already in the books.

            Is it something you could do but expect a challenge or is it not worth trying at all?

            Why and why not?
            The short answer is "maybe."

            The longer answer is "it depends on the statutes and common law of the state in question."

            A good place to being is here: http://asci.uvm.edu/equine/law/

            If the lien laws favor the lien holder then write those into the contract. Know what the procedure is under the law and put that in the contract. Include the administrative procedure. If you've got a good 1 to 1 congruence between law and contract you've make life a lot simpler for yourself.

            If lien laws favor the debtor then you'll have to go more carefully. Writing a contract that is more strict than the statutory or common law can mean expensive litigation. But even here if you write the laws into your contract, even if they're not so favorable to the barn owner, then you'll make the process faster and cleaner.

            In any event this is a good time to spend a few bucks and get a lawyer to write up, or at least review and approve, your boarding contract. They can also tell you about the administrative procedure in your county for foreclosing on the lien. In a rural county this is usually not too complex. In a more urban county (and, depending on the civil procedure of the state in question, the lien holder can end up there) they might be considerably more complex.

            The biggest mistake barn owners make is being "nice." When horses were actually worth something (at least their carcass value to killer buyer) a barn owner could afford to be "patient." Today, with horses having an almost negative market value, patience is not a virtue; it's a shortcut to serious financial loss.

            This means that the barn owner has to shelve their "love for horses" and ignore pleas that "it's not the horse's fault that its owner is a schmuck" and move quickly and decisively. Even if it means the horse takes "the last ride on the big truck."

            If horse owners want public boarding stables they have to pay for what they use. Make the operation of the stable too costly and the service will "go away." Then what???

            G.
            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

            Comment


            • #7
              It is basic contract law that two adults of sound mind can make any agreement they wish as long as what they agree to do is not illegal. So, yes. In most states you would be able to write a boarding contract that says "if you are more than X days late in paying your board, you hereby agree that you forfeit ownership of your horse to the barn owner and agree to sign any transfer of ownership papers necessary to have the horse's registration put into the name of the barn owner."

              Or whatever.

              The stablekeepers' lien statutes are a method of handling the matter when there is no other legally enforceable agreements (like a contract) dealing with the issue.

              Do check with a lawyer in YOUR state to learn what limitations, if any, there would be in such a contract.
              Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

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              • #8
                As Sonesta says parties can agree to just about anything they want so long as the contract does not violate public policy. However, the reality is that whenever things end up in court, there are no winners. Even if there is an attorney fees clause, you cannot get blood from a turnip if one side has nothing.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by quarterhorse4me View Post
                  As Sonesta says parties can agree to just about anything they want so long as the contract does not violate public policy. However, the reality is that whenever things end up in court, there are no winners. Even if there is an attorney fees clause, you cannot get blood from a turnip if one side has nothing.
                  I'm thinking that's a given and why BO's advocate getting the non payers off their dime as fast as possible. Keeping the animal if it's in the contract, or holding it for the statutory period if using the lien laws, still cost money that can't always be recouped.
                  Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
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                  • #10
                    I am telling you, notify them that you will bring it to their house and leave it there and odds are high that they will respond.

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by nashfad View Post
                      I am telling you, notify them that you will bring it to their house and leave it there and odds are high that they will respond.
                      Everybody threatens that. Anybody know of a first hand experience where the BO actually did it? No FOAF stories please.
                      Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                      Incredible Invisible

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ReSomething View Post
                        Everybody threatens that. Anybody know of a first hand experience where the BO actually did it? No FOAF stories please.
                        Drop at home, don't know of any. But I do know a BO that had the horses hauled off never to be seen again. They were there last night when I left. Oh damn, they must have run away.
                        The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by 7HL View Post
                          Drop at home, don't know of any. But I do know a BO that had the horses hauled off never to be seen again. They were there last night when I left. Oh damn, they must have run away.
                          And what was the upshot of that? Did the horse owner just take it and never pay up the debt? Was the BO involved in any legal dispute over the loss of the horses? Did future boarders wind up being better payers?
                          Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                          Incredible Invisible

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ReSomething View Post
                            And what was the upshot of that? Did the horse owner just take it and never pay up the debt? Was the BO involved in any legal dispute over the loss of the horses? Did future boarders wind up being better payers?
                            Don't know, the horse was just gone. There one day gone overnight. No legal suit that I know of. All boarders for the most part paid on time. It was a close knit barn. The BO didn't put up with any BS. One couple that had three horses and problems arose, the BO told them they had 24hrs to leave and had a hauler there for them. Get the dead beats off the property ASAP, if not sooner. Cut your losses.
                            The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.

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                            • #15
                              I have had the horse on the trailer ready to go to the owner's home. They showed up with $$ and a hauler. I am known to be a straight forward no time for bullcrap woman. I would do it----again, I would never leave any horse in a dangerous unsafe situation because if I did show up at their place of course the law would be called and everyone would know what a slacker they were with their animal. I have run into a woman several times recently that hauled her horse out owing board and her 30 day notice and I tried to have her served for a yr----time limit----and could not find her to get her served. So the other night in Kroger, she tries to buddy up to me---again---in front of her friends and I say to her, "Hey, Janice, since you are acting like you and I are BFF, can I get that $$ from you that you ran off owing me 4 yrs ago? I'll gladly take a check right now or better yet, Kroger has an ATM right there." She said she had forgotten about it and would get with me soon----right. At least I busted her.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by ReSomething View Post
                                Everybody threatens that. Anybody know of a first hand experience where the BO actually did it? No FOAF stories please.
                                I do know an Amish guy who had been boarding a couple of mares and a stud for a mutual acquaintance. Board was minimal and she still didn't pay (on top of that she charged him for breeding to her stud he was keeping for nothing!). He finally told her to move the horses. Problem was nobody else would take them; she's pretty well known for being a mooch. She has a barn in her back yard (with at least 6 head there) and one day the mares got loaded in his trailer and dropped her field. Her comment to everyone was "Oh, I came out to feed and saw 4 more ears!"

                                He did cut her some slack and kept the stud until she found another sucker to board with.
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