Friday, February 18, 2011

The New Journey.......... a Little Input..... and a Request...

Here's the initial series Wrapping Up a Difficult Summer that led to this series if you missed it.

Part One

Years ago when Legs was barely broke, I was in a vehicle accident right down the street from my farm. We were just making the right hand turn when some kid tried to pass us on the shoulder plowing right into the right rear quarter panel on my truck.

I was thrown into the door and my head and shoulder struck the window not hard enough to break the glass but hard enough for me to see stars. My youngest son who was also in the truck was not injured. At first I thought I was ok from this accident. I was a little stiff almost immediately but I didn't go for any treatment.

When we did get home, I got a call from Dave and his car was broken down. Instead of going to an emergency room to get check out, we went to retrieve Dave. By later that evening, I had a pretty extreme headache and muscle spasms running up my neck and across my back. The following morning it was obvious I needed to see a doctor.

When I did, I was diagnosed whiplash from the side which they told me is much more painful and less likely to heal than the normal front to back version. I was put on medications and began physical therapy. I was unable to do what I do with horses for months because any form of resistance through my arms caused the whole thing to flare up.

It got to a point in my treatment where the insurance company decided they weren't going to pay anymore of my expenses. Not only that but they weren't willing to even talk about a settlement.

During the course of the settlement of this claim I had to employ a lawyer. I knew at the time I needed someone with some horse knowledge because part of my claim was the resulting losses this injury caused to my business. I got talked into using a high powered personal injury lawyer and as far as they are concerned the settlement went well. For me, not so much, although I did get the maximum the policy allowed with the exception I didn't get compensated for the losses to my business because this attorney didn't know how to figure them because she didn't understand the industry.

I learned the hard way that if a case has anything to do with horses, what you need is an equine attorney. Someone without that experience just does not and will not understand the aspects of the case. Even if you explain it to them, they just look at you with that blank stare that non horse people get when it comes to horse talk. How can they represent someone when they don't understand the aspects of the case.

I could go into great detail about what should have been done to figure out my losses but there's no point since they don't mean much to this story. The important part is that I knew right from the start of this issue with BG and WF the only kind of attorney I wanted to deal with was one who practiced equine law.

Even though Washington state has a huge population of horses and the industry is actually one of the top ten in the state, it wasn't easy trying to locate such a lawyer. They sure weren't listed in the phone book and the Washington State Bar Association was not helpful either.

I did finally locate an attorney out of state who had a license to practice law in Washington. When I was pretty sure where all of this was heading, I contacted this attorney. I explained my case in detail including this "offer" to return the horse in exchange for the boxer puppy.The attorney was as impressed with the offer as I was and for that matter, most of you. The actual comment made was "Gimme a break, people!" followed by a pretty hefty laugh.

It was confirmed the law gives them no right to the puppy and that if they did want to pursue the dog being on a chain, they would have to do that in another action just as I thought. It was also confirmed the fact they knew and had witnessed my use of the chain as a safety precaution in the past that they didn't have a leg to stand on.

There were other issues confirmed for me as well, like the fact I thought I would not be required nor obligated to pay back money for training when he was in breach of contract. I was also told that I could pick up the horse if I could figure out how to get it done without getting arrested for trespassing.

The biggest thing to talk about was the fact that this case was going to be a "he said/she said" thing. The fact the contract was not in writing was only one of the difficult aspects of the case. Proving what was real and what was not to a court when all there really was to go on was the word of the involved parties is just plain tough in the best of circumstances. This case didn't seem to be what anyone would describe as a "best case scenario" and one of the biggest challenges would be arguing it to a roomful of non horse people who weren't going to understand most things anymore than my former lawyer.

I knew right away I had made the right decision in locating an equine attorney. As I'd explained the details of the case what I got were responses of recognition. Everything from lunging horses, to transferring papers to show in owner classes, to valuations of the horse and work done etc. were understood, acknowledged as typical for the industry and put in context of the case. It was so much more helpful than the dumb stares I'd gotten in my last experience.

As I have said all along, it's complicated. Even at this early point I was aware of some of the evidence I had against BG and WF. I also knew I had witnesses that were willing to get involved. Each may cover only a small part of the story but together the puzzle would come together.
I passed that information along to the attorney as well.The attorney recognized the aspects of the case and it's complexity. That complexity was the reason for a retainer of $5000 and I was warned that it could go much much higher than that. I would have to decide if this horse was indeed worth what it was going to cost to get him back.

While I didn't have the money for that retainer, we did talk some about the particulars of the case and appropriate strategy until maybe I could put it together. The attorney stressed it would be important to be the one who had filed the action instead of the one responding to it. While some time would probably pass before we got to that point, if it was obvious the point was there, it would be important to be in the driver's seat. I was even given an idea of how much time I could probably expect before we reached that point.

While I got off the phone not having much hope I would be able to hire this attorney, I at least had a good idea what I was up against. I also knew how I would proceed.

With confirmation from the attorney that I was right in my perceptions of the case, I sent Dave back to meet with WF. He informed her we had consulted with an equine attorney and we knew our rights. There would be no return of the boxer puppy and if she thought they were going to pursue the issue over the chain, she should be prepared for it to be a separate action. He also informed her there is a legal definition that constitutes a "chained dog" and who we care for our dog does not fall in that category so they'd be pretty much wasting their money trying to get her back.

At this meeting Dave did remember to ask WF for a detailed accounting of the work that BG had done with my horses. He told her nothing more could or would happen without it. WF said she would have to get back to us because BG would have to check his records to do that. From there, we waited.

I already knew that BG's number could not reach the price of the horse, if they were honest numbers. Even if he tried to claim he had worked 9 horses on those days I worked part of them, the math still would not come anywhere near the figure needed. The only way that BG could get to that figure was to manufacture numbers and by this time, I was fully prepared to see that he had done just that. In fact, I was counting on it.

To be continued.........................

BG's Accounting

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  1. I think it was a really good idea to consult with an equine attorney. At least knowing what you were up against would give you a plan on how to proceed.

    I'm dying to know how much time they are going to actually put down on paper for the work they supposedly did to work off the contract price.

    It's good Dave went to see them, it showed them a united front at home. And talk of attorneys would have got them thinking.

  2. Good thing about speaking with that equine attorney. I know my barn owner deals with an attorney that often has no idea of the law in regards to horses, as a matter of fact I have found certain laws for him!

    I didn't have a chance to comment on the last post, but the dog on a chain made me laugh. We have and do own dogs with contracts like that and I knew BG wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

    I'm sorry to hear of your accident. My step mom suffered the same kind of wreck and she is still in terrible pain, can't work or even walk around a store.

  3. Arlene, I think an equine lawyer is the only way to go. After this experience, I am also reworking all of my paperwork for breedings, contracts and even bills of sale. It was an informative experience.

    That information about his version of work done is coming in the next post.

    Dave had to go because I was too angry. I'd have wanted to strangle her instead of be civil. (figuritively of course, but there's not way we could have gotten this done without Dave's quiet demeanor.

    horsemom, that is no easy feat. I found equine law very hard to locate. If you have a trick for finding stuff, I'd sure like to know it.

    I'm with you on the dog post. I don't know what they were thinking except that maybe they can get away with whatever they want.

    I still have pain from my accident and it's been about ten years. The think that bothers me most is how it affects my posture which also effects my riding. I can deal with the pain but the interference with my riding really frustrates me. I wish your step mom well. Hope she heals better than I did. It was two years before they finally decided my injuries were permanent.

  4. You are so right about getting an equine attorney. People don't understand horse talk any more then I would understand brain surgery talk. So sorry about your accident, chronic pain is hard to deal with especially when it interferes with your work. I had chronic pain for about ten years and it got quite depressing but thankfully is much better now with just occasional flare ups.

    Yes, Munchie and Noodles are funny with the squirrels around here. They have grown right up together and to my knowledge they have never killed one. They do enjoy watching them and chasing them on occasion but as you could see from the one that was walking right up within three feet of Munch they aren't very scared of her. It makes for the best entertainment around here!

    I do love to cook but I have got to stop! It's been hard on my waistline! ha!

  5. MiKael,
    I have a suggestion for you that may be able to resolve your posture issue while riding. I have been in two accidents and my nucca doc along with a massage therapist put me back together better than I was before either accident. The nucca technique is both unique and effective.

    Dr. Craig Lapenski
    NUCCA Board Certified
    Advanced Spinal Care
    21806 - 103rd Ave. Ct. E.
    Ste 101
    Graham, WA 98338
    Phone: 253-445-8181
    Fax: 253-445-7938
    Member Type: Established Member
    Years In Practice: 12

    My two sisters also had been in accidents and went to other chiropractors, so they were resistant to going to a nucca doc. However, after years of pain and not resolving their issues, they finally did go to a nucca doc. I've heard no more complaints from them regarding those issues, although, it did take longer to resolve them than if they had gone in immediately after the accident.
    Hopefully your insurance will cover or if you can somehow come up with the $$ to go, I am certain you will notice a huge difference!!

  6. I have to go back to the beginning and read everything. I always feel like I've missed too much to comment. You'll be getting a whole slew of comments from me in the near future.

  7. So glad you consulted the equine Attorney and that he gave you such good direction.The accidents sounds rotten.Esp that the pain set in later, how are we to know sometimes ? you thingk uyou are fine till you aren't I guess