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Ely, Counselor at Law
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I may actually need a lawyer that deals with equine law...this

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I may actually need a lawyer that deals with equine law...this involves a partnership. The partnership agreement was verbal. Now the partner doesn't want to keep up her end financially, and she wants to take the horse from me. I have the horse, I have the Registration Papers, and I have been doing all the work and paying 95% of the horse's expenses. Where do I turn?
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry for your situation. Can you please tell me:

1) Who has the horse now?
2) Are you the only owner on the registration?
3) Are there any emails or texts that confirm the partnerships, or is this ALL verbal and she has no proof of the partnership?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have the horse in my possession now.

The verbal agreement was made last year. My Partner Michael and I own the mother and bred her and own subsequent baby, who is now a yearling named Green Lightning..

Michael and I agreed to a 50-50 ownership. I guess under verbal agreement with Diane, Michael owns 25% and I own 25%. We have no agreement in writing. Nothing notarized.

We (Michael and I) were boarding our horses with this lady (Diane)last year. In February of this year I moved our horses from her facility as she was playing financial games and I was becoming leary of her, but not before I made one more deal with Diane. We all were in verbal agreement that we would take her yearling also as the 2 yearlings were pastured together. That agreement was that I would (at my new boarding facility) take care of her yearling's day to day expenses. Both of these yearlings are supposed to be entered in the August Ocala Breeders Sale to be sold. In exchange for the daily upkeep of Diane's yearling, Mike and I would get 1/3 of the proceeds from the sale of Diane's filly. I will refer to her as the Roan Filly. Another problem, Mike had met with Diane without my knowledge and made a deal with her that she pay $20 a week for hay for Green lightning as her half of the horses expenses. Evidently Michael has difficulty standing up to people to make proper deals. I thought Diane was paying $100 a week for hay expenses, and though this amount is an extremely feeble amount, I went along with it just not to make waves with Diane.board for aThoroughbred yearling runs between $20 and $30 a day. I can get people to attest to that all day long. Diane's Roan Filly got a scratch on the cornea of her eye and I had the vet out to treat it. the bill was $129. I told vet I would pay 1/3 or the bill. Well, Diane is refusing to pay the bill stating that I need to cover all of Roan Filly's expenses. this led to email discussion of half expenses for Green Lightning, and that I felt that $100 a month is way undercutting her expenses, and what about my time, responsibility and expertise? Diane still insists in paying only $20/week for hay for Green Lightning She is refusing to pay what I ask, and she sent a check for $100 for hay ( and that includes a couple of other small expenses). I told her I would refuse the check, that she is insulting me. Michael told me that he would support me 100% in any of my decisions. Then he went to Diane and agreed with her insulting amount of payment. Now Diane is saying that she owns 50% of Green Lightning and Michael owns 25% and now because they own 75% I have no say and she is going to take the horse. Another FYI....Michael now has a girlfriend,since about January. And since then he has not been supporting his end of any partnership. He does not communicate with me , and since January I have been caring for all of our horses physically, and about 75% of all expenses. I know this is long and involved, but you needed more details. Michael seems to have lost interest since he now has a girlfriend, and he spends most of his time with her, so now I am left doing all of the physical care on a daily basis. I am thinking, (it seems like he wants out of this business) of having him sign over his 50% of Green Monkey to me. Since Diane wants to jerk me around and make deals with my partner behind my back that involve me, I think this that is illegal. Though nothing was written on paper, I am pretty sure that since I have the Green Monkey's registration papers, with just Michael's name and my name on them, that Diane has nothing she can do legally, though she is threatening to sue me.


Thank you. Just to clarify:

1) All the agreements are VERBAL, correct?
2) On paper, you are the only owner?
3) Is it Michael or Diane that is attempting to take the horse?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Ely,

All agreements are verbal.

On paper, Michael and I are her breeders. The owner(s)sign the back of her Registration Papers.

I have the Registration Papers, and I have signed them. No one else has.

Diane is attempting to take the horse.

Unfortunately, Michael agrees and supports whom ever he happens to be talking to. so he has put himself in a precarious place because he agrees with both of us women.

Thank you, Sharon.

In Florida, equine law primary concerns liability of owner for injury. FL ST § 773.01 - 773.06. Ergo, this falls under common contract law.

As such, first of all understand the following:

1) Both written and verbal agreements are binding. However, while written agreements are self-evident by the contract, verbal agreements are much harder to prove;

2) In any partnership, each partner owes the other partners certain duties - see here.

As such, someone in your situation has two options:

1) WHOLLY DENY THAT DIANE even has any claim to the horse unless she can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that there is such an agreement. As such, you can warn her that you would call the authorities if she attempts to trespass and take the horse, because until/unless the court states otherwise, YOU and MICHAEL are the only rightful owners to the horse because only your names are XXXXX XXXXX paperwork. The onus would then be up to her to file in Court, seeking declaratory relief that she is a partner and has interest, and she'd have to prove this by a preponderance of the evidence.


2) ADMIT that she has a partnership interest, but even then, demand that she fulfill her partnership duty under what is listed in the link, which includes paying a fair amount of costs for the care of the horse (unless there is an agreement that she should pay a certain amount specifically). If she does not, she may be liable for breach of that partnership under breach of fiduciary duty. The elements of a cause of action for breach of fiduciary duty are: (1) the existence of a fiduciary duty; (2) the breach of that duty; and (3) damage proximately caused by that breach. Moiser v. Southern California Physicians Ins. Exchange, 74 Cal. Rptr. 2d 550 - Cal: Court of Appeal, 2nd Appellate Dist., 4th Div. 1998.

A letter stating just this may have her back off and/or begin making payments. Let me know if you need such a sample letter.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Thank You so much for your expert advice.I commend your work.

Please send an example of as you stated of "breach of fiduciary duty"letter, and hopefully that would work.

Thank you for your kind words. Please give me a second while I provide the sample letter (again, this is only a sample)...
Dear ________________,

This correspondence is in regards to your interest in the horse by the name of __________, to which you hold ____ percent interest in.

Note that pursuant to our agreement, you have to pay $____ for the upkeep to the horse. This has not been done and demand is hereby made for $____ for payment per the agreement.

If no payment is forthcoming, I may have no choice but to seek relief via court for breach of contract, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty.

The elements of a breach of contract action are a valid contract, a material breach, and damages. Merin Hunter Codman, Inc. v. Wackenhut Corrections Corp., __ So. 2d __, No. 4D05-3337, 2006 WL 2683314, *1 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006)

The four elements of negligence are (1) a legal duty owed by defendant to plaintiff, (2) breach of that duty by defendant, (3) an injury to plaintiff legally caused by defendant's breach, and (4) damages as a result of the injury. Paterson v. Deeb, 472 So. 2d 1210 - Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 1st Dist. 1985.

The elements of a cause of action for breach of fiduciary duty are: (1) the existence of a fiduciary duty; (2) the breach of that duty; and (3) damage proximately caused by that breach. Moiser v. Southern California Physicians Ins. Exchange, 74 Cal. Rptr. 2d 550 - Cal: Court of Appeal, 2nd Appellate Dist., 4th Div. 1998.

I trust that this matter can be resolved amicably, but if $____ is not paid in __ days of your receipt if this certified correspondence, I may have no choice but to pursue other avenues of relief.




Now notice that if such type of a letter is sent, then later you cannot deny that she was a partner - after all, you sent the letter affirming this.