In Florida, there is an Equine Lemon Law that applies to all horse sales, regardless of the industry in which the horse participates. Compliance with the law is crucial to avoid any legal issues with the purchase or sale of the horse. The law includes several requirements you want to ensure are included and disclosed in the written bill of sale.
If you would like assistance with the purchase or sale of a horse in Wellington, contact lead attorney Grace de la Gueronniere of Gueronniere, P.A. Grace has the unique combination of a corporate and business law background and years of experience in the equine industry. She will help you avoid violating the equine lemon law as a seller or purchasing a lemon as a buyer.
What is a Lemon Law?
Traditionally, lemon laws have referred to the protection provided to consumers that purchase a vehicle with a substantial defect. The buyer must discover the defect within a certain period of time, and the buyer must provide the seller with chances to repair the issue. If the vehicle is a lemon, the manufacturer must purchase the car from the buyer or give the buyer a replacement vehicle.
What is the Florida Equine Lemon Law?
Similarly, the Florida equine law seeks to protect buyers of horses. Florida statute section 535.16 directed the Florida Department of Agriculture to create rules to prevent unfair or deceptive trade practices involved in the purchase of horses, including rules regarding:
- The requirement to have a written bill of sale
- Information about the owner and buyer of the horse
- The dual agency of individuals involved in the transaction
- Information about medical conditions, surgeries, and any defects the horse has
- Conduct or conditions of the horse that could affect the horse’s performance
As a result, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued regulations requiring a written bill of sale for all horse purchases and sales. The written bill of sale must also include disclosures about dual agents and medical conditions.
Specifically, the regulations require the owner to “accurately disclose all information within its knowledge” that responds to a buyer’s inquiry about the horse’s medical history. The regulations also make it an unfair and deceptive trade practice to violate any provision of the rules when the violation causes harm.
What remedies are available if there is an unfair trade practice?
If you are the victim of an unfair or deceptive trade practice in a horse purchase, the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act provides remedies for purchasers. Section 501.211 of the Act provides that individuals can obtain the following:
- Declaratory judgment – declaratory judgment is a judgment of the court that specifies the rights and obligations of the parties to the case
- Injunction – injunctive relief either directs a party to take or abstain from taking an action
- Actual damages plus attorney’s fees and court costs – the individual or business that is harmed by the unfair and deceptive practices can receive compensation for the damages they suffered, plus the cost of their attorney fees and court costs.
Hire Gueronniere, P.A. to Avoid Unfair Trade Practices in Equine Sales in Wellington
It is crucial to avoid being taken advantage of during the purchase or sale of a horse. You also want to maintain a stellar reputation in the Wellington equine community by avoiding any association with selling a subpar horse. With years of experience in the equine industry, Grace can ensure that transactions are carried out per the Equine Lemon Law.
We will diligently review the bill of sale, ensuring we include all necessary information and transparently disclose any essential details to the buyer or seller. Contact Gueronniere, P.A. today to get started with your free consultation.