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-   -   Is this contract Void? Who does this horse legally belong to? (http://www.horseforum.com/horse-law/contract-void-who-does-horse-legally-125624/)

woman_in_shoe 06-02-2012 11:25 PM

Is this contract Void? Who does this horse legally belong to?
 
A number of years ago a friend of mine "Jane" did a mare lease and got a beautiful colt from the breeding. He was her soulmate, her bestfriend. A few years later she made the mistake of marrying a man who was horribly abusive. This poor girl was cut off from friends, family, had no phone, had to go to work with him every day and finally he forced her to give up her horses. He would not allow her to buy food for the horses or pay for their board.

One day I recieved an email from her saying that because of "financial reasons", she needed to find homes for her two remaining horses. The mare went to live with a woman who had at one time leased her. My friend did not want to give up ownership of her best friend, the stallion, she wanted to find someone who would lease him. Several people stepped forward offering to lease the stallion as he is an exceptional horse with a fantastic pedigree.

A woman "Sally" offered to do a lease on him and "Jane" sent her the lease agreement contract. The next day "Sally" sent "Jane" a sales agreement contract demanding that she either sign the horse over to her or it was no deal. At the time that "Jane" recieved this contract and email her abusive husband was standing next to her screaming threats in her ear that if she didn't sign the contract that he would never take her out to see him, never buy food for him and that the barnowner would take him to auction. My poor friend was so confused, frightened and not in her right mind because of this and all of the other abuse that she had been enduring. Instead of writing "Sally" and telling her that she would not be giving her this valuable stallion and moving on to the next person who had expressed interest in leasing him, she was so terrified by the threats and not thinking clearly she signed her horse over to "Sally".

A few months later "Jane" escaped with just the clothes on her back and a few possessions shoved in a pillow case, from this monstor after being chased around the kitchen.

She was very much in debt and had very little. But one thing she knew, SHE WANTED HER HORSE BACK! She explained what had happened to "Sally" and "Sally" refuses to give the stallion back to "Jane"

In the past year since escaping she has rebuilt her life, works full time and has a new home. But her life is so empty without her bestfriend.

What I am wondering, given the circumstances surrounding what happened at the time that she was forced to sign the contract under duress, if the contract may actually be void and the horse still legally belong to "Jane"?

WickedNag 06-03-2012 08:23 AM

Just my opinion as I am not an attorney but she signed the papers. I suppose under duress could be used but does she have the money to hire an attorney...and than she may only be awarded damages and not the horse.

I had to sell my dream horse many years ago after an ugly divorce... I will forever miss him :(

TimberRidgeRanch 06-03-2012 08:32 AM

Im sorry for your friend. Unfortunately the contract is legal. She would have to go through great lengths to prove duress. But also if she only has the clothes on her back and a few things to her name I believe she is in no position to take back any horse. She needs to get herself solidly on her feet before taking back any animal. Not trying to be rude here.
Its going to take ALOT of money to even attempt to get this horse back. Be different if the contract was just a lease agreement.
JMHO

TRR

TimberRidgeRanch 06-03-2012 08:35 AM

OOps missed part of the post sorry
Okay void the part about living situation. BUT where its been over a year she may not be able to do a thing about it. Depends on the statue of limitations in your state.
Good luck though

Jake and Dai 06-03-2012 09:05 AM

That does sound like a completely horrible situation woman_in_shoe.

I really think the best advice for your friend is to consult an attorney. Not knowing anything about the law, I would tend to agree with TimberRidgeRanch that it will be extremely difficult to prove. I don't think your friend would be able to fight this battle herself. There is simply too much going on.

I truly think she would need a legal professional at her side in this.

Saddlebag 06-03-2012 09:36 AM

If it turned out the horse was legally Jane's, Sally would likely demand compensation for the care of the horse, which would likely be a considerable amount considering how much time has transpired since the deal was made.

Joe4d 06-03-2012 12:15 PM

best advice would be to suck it up and move on.

The possesion aspect would have to be hammered out in court. An arrest and conviction of the former spouse would help. Usually in these situations thought the wife just gets out, doenst press charges casue she just wants it over. However in the courts eyes, NO conviction, no abuse. As soon as friend claims, contract was signed under duress, the defenses lawyer is gonna say, OK let me see police report and conviction records....ummm ummmm,

Possesion is 9/1oths of the law, Under English common contract law, if you dont object, You agree. A year has gone buy with no objections. I think she will have a very long very expensive uphill battle getting the horse back. A consultation with an actual attorny would be best. Like has been stated even if she wins I imagine the current owner will counter suit for board expenses.

churumbeque 06-04-2012 05:13 PM

Her husband caused the duress not the new owner. So it is no longer her horse. If the new owner caused the duress then that might make a difference.


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