Law suit over new horse in pasture - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 18 Old 08-22-2011, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Law suit over new horse in pasture

Hi, I'm brand new to this forum. I hope to be a regular reader and a contributor if I feel I have something of value to offer.

I have an ethical/legal question I would like some help with.

My 5 horses had been in a pasture for about 8 months with the permission of the property owner. Her boyfriend brought a new horse to the pasture and turned him loose with my horses. Within a couple of days this new horses owner called and told me that my horses had kicked and bitten his horse to the point where he had to take the horse to the vet. The vet bill was $425. I told him that he should've known better than putting a new horse in a pasture like that, but that I would be willing to pay half the vet bill just because I wanted to be fair since they were my horses. He insists that I pay the entire bill and is threatening to sue me if I don't.

What would you do? How much of the responsibility for what happened is mine (my horses) and how much is his for putting his horse in the pasture like he did? What kind of a defense would you mount if you had to go to court over such an issue?

I'd appreciate any advice or counsel you can offer.
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post #2 of 18 Old 08-22-2011, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagrunner View Post
Hi, I'm brand new to this forum. I hope to be a regular reader and a contributor if I feel I have something of value to offer.

I have an ethical/legal question I would like some help with.

My 5 horses had been in a pasture for about 8 months with the permission of the property owner. Her boyfriend brought a new horse to the pasture and turned him loose with my horses. Within a couple of days this new horses owner called and told me that my horses had kicked and bitten his horse to the point where he had to take the horse to the vet. The vet bill was $425. I told him that he should've known better than putting a new horse in a pasture like that, but that I would be willing to pay half the vet bill just because I wanted to be fair since they were my horses. He insists that I pay the entire bill and is threatening to sue me if I don't.

What would you do? How much of the responsibility for what happened is mine (my horses) and how much is his for putting his horse in the pasture like he did? What kind of a defense would you mount if you had to go to court over such an issue?

I'd appreciate any advice or counsel you can offer.
Well, if he's threatening to sue, I might wait it out, and let him sue you.
I doubt he will, and all he'd get was the total amount anyhow.
He will pay more than that to hire a lawyer, and he may/may not win in court because,...,

It wasn't an intentional act, you didn't put his horse in harm's way,
HE DID
He actually put your horse's in harm's way also.

I think you are being more than fair in offering half.
Give him time to cool off and come to his senses
Geeez!

Also, he might actually have a better case against the property owner than you,...,
You might want to discuss it with the property owner before you do anything.

Good luck.
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Last edited by WhoaNow; 08-22-2011 at 05:25 PM.
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post #3 of 18 Old 08-22-2011, 05:23 PM
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You need to contact an attorney who is familiar with equine law in your state. It could go either way in court, which is why you need to talk to a lawyer.

I'd lay odds this person is just bluffing, but you never know.

You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth!
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post #4 of 18 Old 08-22-2011, 09:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagrunner View Post
Hi, I'm brand new to this forum. I hope to be a regular reader and a contributor if I feel I have something of value to offer.

I have an ethical/legal question I would like some help with.

My 5 horses had been in a pasture for about 8 months with the permission of the property owner. Her boyfriend brought a new horse to the pasture and turned him loose with my horses. Within a couple of days this new horses owner called and told me that my horses had kicked and bitten his horse to the point where he had to take the horse to the vet. The vet bill was $425. I told him that he should've known better than putting a new horse in a pasture like that, but that I would be willing to pay half the vet bill just because I wanted to be fair since they were my horses. He insists that I pay the entire bill and is threatening to sue me if I don't.

What would you do? How much of the responsibility for what happened is mine (my horses) and how much is his for putting his horse in the pasture like he did? What kind of a defense would you mount if you had to go to court over such an issue?

I'd appreciate any advice or counsel you can offer.
If you're going to go the wait and see approach it might be wise to find a new place to put your horses. I'd also check up on them more to avoid any "accidents" happening to your horses. Sounds cold I know but I've learned from experiance just how vindictive people can be if they feel wronged.
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post #5 of 18 Old 08-22-2011, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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This person called me the day he discovered his horse was injured, around noon, and told me that he wanted all my horses out of the pasture by sundown that day. I had to leave work and spend the rest of the day scrambling to find places for all the horses that day. (I had to put three of them in my garden with my electric fence for a couple of days and drive the other about 30 miles to a trainer who said he could take one but not all three.) It took me a couple of weeks to find a place that would take them all, but I did, so they are all safe well out of reach of any vindictive actions. But thanks for the concern and warning.
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post #6 of 18 Old 08-22-2011, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Shagrunner View Post
This person called me the day he discovered his horse was injured, around noon,
And told me that he wanted all my horses out of the pasture by sundown that day.
I had to leave work and spend the rest of the day scrambling to find places for all the horses that day.
(I had to put three of them in my garden with my electric fence for a couple of days
And drive the other about 30 miles to a trainer who said he could take one but not all three.)
It took me a couple of weeks to find a place that would take them all,
But I did, so they are all safe well out of reach of any vindictive actions.
But thanks for the concern and warning.
Wow,..., sounds like they don't really want to hold themselves accountable for their bad idea.
Accidents HAPPEN with horses, especially when someone just throws one in with an established herd.
You aren't responsible for what happened,..,
I would just find a new place for all my horses and let his lawyer contact my lawyer.
He won't go that far,.., and you didn't do anything intentionally, or willfully.
I imagine IF you had known that the BF was putting a new horse in the field, you would have asked to be present, so as to have this type incident NOT happen.

Good luck, hopefully it will just GO AWAY
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post #7 of 18 Old 08-23-2011, 12:33 AM
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If you were paying the LO to keep your horses there, her boyfriend had not right to demand that you move yours. He should not have put his horse in to the herd without proper introducing steps. And the LO should be the one to set this up.
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post #8 of 18 Old 08-23-2011, 02:06 AM
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I wouldn't be paying squat doodly. He is the one that put his horse in danger by putting him in an established herd. What a goober.

If you had permission to put your horses there he really doesn't have a leg to stand on in or out of court. Sorry his horse was hurt but it sounds like he is responsible for that.

I wouldn't pay him a dime for his vet bills. Glad you moved your horses and maybe this horse's backside has learned a lesson...expensive and painful for the horse.
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post #9 of 18 Old 08-23-2011, 04:09 AM
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I really do not see how you could be liable in any way.
What I would do is move my horses ASAP and ignore him.
You were doing something nice by offering to pay for half and he still asked for more and then made a threat to you, WOW can we say JERK!!
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post #10 of 18 Old 08-23-2011, 07:03 AM
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You can't fix stupid. The BF is way off base but the property owner isn't helping you, apparently. Not legal advise but I don't think he has a chance in a court (small claims and in front of a judge or magistrate) if you do your homework and show that the problem stemmed from his lack of proper horse handling. I would also counter sue for the time lost at work, the lack of proper notification and the expense of moving them - give him something to think about.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.


It's not always what you say but what they hear.
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