Buyers who invest in a horse only to find that they are probably not getting their money's worth may wonder if they have a legal recourse. As a firm that specializes in equine law, we see this issue crop up quite frequently, but whether or not anything can be done about it depends on the circumstances. Here are some of the requirements for a viable case.
Buyer must be able to prove there is something wrong with the horse.
A buyer cannot simply claim that a horse is lame and expect that assertion to stand up in court. A horse expert must rate the animal on a lame scale from 1 to 5. This expert must have worked with and examined the horse in the flesh and then complete a report to submit to the court.
Buyer must prove condition existed prior to purchase.
The buyer must be able to prove that the horse's condition existed before the transaction took place. Often, the court will require veterinarian documents and records that were drawn up prior to the purchase as proof. Further, if the buyer purchased a horse with joint disease, a veterinarian radiologist can use x-rays to determine how long a horse has had the condition.
Buyer must prove that the seller did not disclose issues.
It's the responsibility of the seller to disclose any preexisting issues that the horse has. If the medical records are released to the buyer, it's their responsibility to review them to ensure that there are no issues with the horse. These documents should always be reviewed prior to the purchase. If, in fact, the information was not released to the buyer, then they may have a case.
Buyer must be familiar with the contract.
In some cases, a contract may include a return policy or the seller may include information about preexisting conditions. You should always review the contract with your Los Angeles horse lawyer so that they can offer their advice before any decisions are made.
After reviewing these points with a client, they can decide whether to pursue a case against the seller. If a client decides to move forward, we work closely with them to determine all damages, which often include money spent on diagnosing and treating the horse while under their care. If you feel you have a case against a seller, contact a lawyer who specializes in equine law.