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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22619
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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We have a horse in our training and care. He was imported

Customer Question

We have a horse in our training and care. He was imported from California in 2014. The partner in the horse has had money troubles and not physically paid a bill in over a year.
Luckily, eventually, the horse won enough prize money to cover outstanding costs. But now we're back in the same position with the partner now wanting the horse 'sent back to ca'.
We trained and cared for the horse for free under a verbal agreement that the horse remained for me to ride. Typically our bills should be over $1000 a month.
For this we 'bought into the horse' so in leu of payment every month we owned a slightly higher %.
JA: What state is this in? And just to clarify, when exactly were you notified?
Customer: The horse was a green 5yr old when it came. Now a successful Grand Prix horse (in New Zealand)
Is a lien the way to go as she won't communicate, is threatening legal action if we don't release the horse. But she owes us money.
He was imported into nz as personal goods for personal use which was our understanding and agreement with her.
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: Not yet. Was hoping to avoid that route
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: That's all I can think of right now Oh. She's saying he was an investment horse, in her last email admitted he wasn't.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 8 months ago.

I am reading this now

Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 8 months ago.

The partner in the horse may have trouble getting the horse returned because the court in California may not have power over a horse in New Zealand. She could try filing a claim under New Zealand partnership law in a court here however, but would face further difficulties in that she would need to show the partnership agreem,ent required that the horse be returned to California. If she brings any court action you can counterclaim for the money she owes for looking after it. It would be difficult to read into the agreement any requirement to return it however

Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 8 months ago.

The most likely result may be to get you to pay out her share of the horse, and that may be the way forward. But cross border litigation is very expensive and difficult. You dont say if you have a written partnership agreement, and if you do that should have a dispute resolution clause about how to resolve partnerhip issues. Otherwise the New Zealand Partnership Act will apply

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Unfortunately we only have a verbal agreement, but she sent him as a permanent import to New Zealand as we were going to 'see how far we can take him'
I feel for her but we are hugely invested in the horse ourselves and can't afford to lose money.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 8 months ago.

The partnership has a clear term that each party would pay their share of the costs, and she has breached that term. But without a term requiring return, and if this was intended to be permanent import, she cannot force you to return the horse. So she would likely need to file a claim in a New Zealand court, and for what? Most likely to get her share of the horse paid out, which would be the most likely result.

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