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Dear Customer, thank you for choosing Just Answer. While I cannot give you a legal opinion regarding the outcome of this matter, I can tell you what claims would be made and make the observation that absent information and evidence to support their claim, the farm will have a difficult time proving causation regarding the damage to the gate (this makes their holding of your money a difficult position).
With regard to the farm holding your money (the last loads of hay), unless there is something in your contract that states they are permitted to hold the deposit against damage done by third party contractors or vendors (which is possible) they cannot do so.
Even if there is such a clause in the contract, they can only withhold money if they can prove causation. Trucks, tractors, and other farm equipment moving in and out of a gated portion of a farm are common, trying to pin such a claim on a single truck "because they think it was that one" is not going to be sufficient in most cases, particularly when there is no damage to that truck - this is likely why the insurance claim was denied.
To get your money (hay) back you will need to file in small claims court in Texas if they are unwilling to cooperate.
Regarding withholding money from the driver/trucking company. If there is no evidence that the driver was responsible for the damage, there is no basis to withhold money from the driver (just as the farm has no grounds to withhold payment from you). The fact that the farm has improperly withheld your money does not mean you can do so from this third party, although you may certainly plead them into your lawsuit as a defendant as well so that in the event the Court finds that it was the truck driver, you can get a judgment in the same case against the truck driver for the lost money).
The claim against the insurance agency is correct by the trucking company as claims are based on any issue raised or brought against the entity even before litigation or regardless of merit. Hopefully this will help to resolve the issue without the need for going to small claims in a different state.
Thank you. Good informaton. Should I send the farm a registered letter asking for what proof they have and physical evidence on the supposed truck that did the damage? Or what should I state in the letter? Maybe also note to them my potential damages as a result of the delay in the release of funds and that time is of the essence.
If I send that letter it would be to support my evidence for small claims court in the long run.
I cannot give you specific legal advice or instruction, but sending a "pre-litigation demand letter" such as that is usually not a bad idea, many attorneys do so. Some also attach a copy of the proposed complaint to the letter and tell the other party that they will file the complaint if they do not receive an answer within a set number of days or weeks.
OK thanks much. Robert
You are welcome, is there anything else I can assist you with today?
No thanks and take care
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