Breaking contract - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 15 Old 11-01-2013, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Valerie90191 View Post
Thank you for all the responses. Yes she is taking me to civil court for $200 which was my monthly board. Yes I have pictures of the moldy hay. No I did not give her a chance to rectify the problem. The building of the shelter was verbal not in the contract. I live in Maryland and in Maryland you are required to have a boarding license if you board five or more horses. The barn does not have a license and she is boarding about 20 horses. To me illegally boarding horses would make the contract void. Everyone else provided their own hay except my friend and I, the barn owner provided ours.

All this over $200?

Here is my GUESS. You will go to small claims court. The boarding license issue will come up and the judge will probably not care since it has little relation on the case. (You agreed to pay $200 then you left and didn't pay it.) The shelter being verbal will be your word against theirs - meaning it will not count for anything. Either way, it wasn't part of the contract so has no bearing on the $200 owed.

It all comes down to the moldy hay. You had a problem and broke the contract instead of trying to work it out. Judges usually don't like that. Most will feel that people should try to resolve their own disputes before wasting a judges time.

Again, its a guess, but I would bet it will end one of a few ways:

1. You will lose and pay the $200
2. You will lose and pay part of the $200
3. You will lose and pay the $200 PLUS their court costs.

Of course, I am not a lawyer or judge and have very little information to go on. This is just an educated guess.

My .02 - pay the $200, get a signed release saying you are paid in full and call it a bad experience.

If you want to roll the dice, hope that the "People's Court" (or similar) folks find and pick you. Then the producers pay the judgement and you get to be on TV. :)

The only thing you can do to "get even" is to report her to the correct authorities for not having a license. A small claims court has no real power to enforce that code or penalize someone for it. You need to go to the town/county/state and complain. That will get someone out there to do something and levy the appropriate fine.

Last edited by Tazmanian Devil; 11-01-2013 at 05:44 PM.
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post #12 of 15 Old 11-01-2013, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by tlkng1 View Post
OK...that sounds better :)...she is still taking a chance bringing anyone into court though when she is already breaking the law.
Actually, she is probably violating a local code or ordinance. Not really a "law" with jail time. More like a parking ticket or failing to get a license for your dog. Also not the type of thing a small claims court judge will be able to enforce.

Don't forget that the BO may have an excuse for this. They may even have the proper license.

Think how bad you would look if you started telling a judge "they don't have a license" and then they say "sure we do." or "we don't need one because blah, blah, blah." The judge won't care and won't waste time on it because it is really immaterial to the case. It is a simple "I agreed to pay you $200 for a service and then changed my mind because you provided less of a service than I thought I was getting." Then, instead of working it out, you broke the contract and took off without paying.

Let's say you go into a restaurant and order some chicken. The dish comes and the chicken is - in your opinion - undercooked. You eat part of the meal (veggies, drinks, maybe even part of the chicken.)

What do you do next?

1. Most people would call for the waiter or manager and complain. The restaurant would either make it right or you would tell them you are leaving and (most likely) not have to pay the bill.

2. On the other hand, if you just got up and walked out, they would probably call the cops because you ran out on the check.

From what has been written here, #2 seems closer to what happened. You can bet the BO will sell it that way.

I still say pay the $200, get a "paid in full" statement in exchange and call it a lesson learned. Then call the town and complain about the license.

Last edited by Tazmanian Devil; 11-01-2013 at 05:58 PM.
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post #13 of 15 Old 11-01-2013, 05:59 PM
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I'm amazed the BO is suing for $200. I can't even imagine going after something so small and my board bill here for full board and care is only a little over $200! It's roughly $100 to file in Small Claims, plus the amount it takes to properly serve the person you're suing and then you have to spend your day in town at court .....My TIME is worth more than that. LOL!

Show up in court with your proof of the moldy hay, bring in articles from Veterinary sources that talk about the importance of the quality and cleanliness of the hay, call your vet and get a statement of what an average emergency vet call for colic would cost you and show up in court on the day. If she shows up, you have some ammo to fight with, but I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't bother to show. For $200, REALLY? LOL!
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post #14 of 15 Old 11-01-2013, 06:20 PM
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Honestly, I think she's probably going to threaten but not actually take you to court. As Dreamcatcher pointed out, $200 is not worth the effort.

If it had been me in your case I would have left too, but I would not have shorted the board. No matter how bad the care, it was still what you agreed to pay and not paying it just puts you on a level with the BO.
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post #15 of 15 Old 11-02-2013, 10:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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My take is that you pay the $200 and look at it as a tuition fee for learning by your mistakes of not getting everything in writing. Don't go slamming any doors as history has a way of repeating itself and you may one day need to go back there. If she has to be licensed and isn't, you would be in essence firing her and taking away her income.
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