Frequently Asked Questions About
California Equine Law and
Hey & Hey Attorneys At Law LLP
1. What is Equine Law?
Equine Law includes all legal aspects of the horse industry and horse-related business, such as buying and selling; breeding; boarding; leasing horses; liability, such as that incurred by owners, trainers, riders and students; labor issues faced by owners and trainers; and much more.
2. What is an Equine Attorney -- and what does an Equine Attorney do?
An equine attorney is someone who has in-depth knowledge of the horse industry as well as the laws that relate to the industry. Equine attorneys draft, review and negotiate contracts used by equine professionals and non-professionals. Typical contracts include purchase agreements, breeding contracts, boarding contracts, lease agreements, liability waivers, labor agreements and much more.
Equine Lawyers represent people who have allegedly violated the rules set forth by the governing association for the sport, such as alleged drug violations with the United States Equestrian Federation. Equine attorneys help owners, grooms and trainers with immigration issues.
Equine lawyers advise and help business clients evaluate the appropriate way to organize, whether it be a limited liability company (LLC), partnership or corporation. They help people working in the horse industry to avoid or limit their liability within their activities in the sport. They can assist those involved in zoning disputes and real estate transactions.
3. Why do you need an Equine Attorney?
A lawyer who specializes in Equine Law will be able to better serve you and help you save money because they are familiar with the nuances that come up in the horse industry. An Equine Attorney can more effectively and more quickly draft a release form than someone not versed in the horse industry because they are more up to date on the related laws and how they work within the industry. An attorney who is not familiar with the industry has to spend additional time learning the language and how the horse industry works.
4. Do you represent horses?
While this may sound comical, it is a question that we have been asked. The answer is no. Instead, we represent anyone involved in the equine industry. This includes owners, riders, trainers, grooms, stable owners, coaches, farriers, veterinarians -- as well as business entities, such as race tracks, breeding farms, professional horse transportation companies -- any person or any company involved in the horse business.
5. How can I protect myself from being sued?
We offer a two-pronged approach to help clients limit their liability. The first way is to have well-drafted documents that comply with California law. The second way is to have an insurance package that protects you as someone involved in the horse industry.
6. Do you evaluate horses?
While we feel competent in our legal and practical knowledge of the horse world, if a client needs a horse appraised, we draw on our contacts in the horse industry to hire a certified equine appraiser.
7. How does your escrow service work?
We developed our escrow service to better serve and protect our clients’ interests when they are buying or selling a horse. Our five-step process protects both the Buyer and Seller during the transaction, as follows:
(1)The buyer and seller negotiate an agreement with or without our help. We then prepare the sales contract, which both parties sign.
(2)The buyer pays the funds for the horse into an escrow account we establish.
(3)The seller ships the horse to the buyer upon verification that the funds are in the escrow account.
(4)The buyer receives the horse and determines that it is in the same condition as when it was initially evaluated by the buyer.
(5) We release the funds from escrow according to the escrow instructions.
8. How much does your escrow service cost?
We charge one percent (1%) of the purchase price with a minimum of $250.00 plus the cost of our time to draft the sales contract, which generally takes about an hour.
9. How much does it cost to hire Hey & Hey to represent me as my Equine Attorney?
We charge on an hourly basis in increments of tenths of an hour. Randy Hey’s hourly rate is $375.00 and Polly Hey Panos’ hourly rate is $325.00. We will always give you a time estimate during our initial consultation and before you incur any obligation.
10. What is your Equine Business Audit Package?
We developed our Equine Business Audit Package to protect our client’s ongoing interests. Every year laws change, as courts hand down new legal decisions. When you hire us to conduct an Equine Business Audit, we will do an in-depth review of all of your contracts and tell you whether we suggest any changes.
11. How much does your Equine Business Audit Package cost?
What value would you place on a service that could potentially save you from a $20,000 or $50,000 lawsuit? If we were a big city firm with a high-rise office, we might be forced to charge $2,000 to $4,000 for this type of review to cover the extreme overhead. But fortunately we don’t work out of a big city firm, which allows us to charge only $750 for our business audit package. Included in this package is the review of all documents listed in our business audit package document. If we need to re-draft any documents, then we will discuss your options with you and will charge you at the hourly rate of $325.00. We will always give you a time estimate before you incur any obligation.
You’re Invited to Call or E-mail!
“If you have questions or comments about any aspect of law relating to horses,
please don’t hesitate to call or send me an e-mail. I’ll be glad to hear from you --
and promise I will do everything I can to help you!” -- Polly