WELLINGTON, FL - November 10, 2008 - HorseClosings.com, the first known "equine closing" company that documents the terms of horse sales and leases, can help buyers, sellers, and agents stay in compliance with the recently passed Florida law that brings new requirements to horse sales. Florida now joins Kentucky in this new era of legislation that regulates the horse industry through the government rather than through national horse organization rules. ¬
HorseClosings.com was founded by equine attorneys Krysia Carmel Nelson and Tamara Leigh Tucker of Nelson & Tucker, PLC.
"Florida passed a law earlier this year that will change the way the horse industry does business because it redefines what constitutes 'deception' in a horse sales transaction," explained Ms. Nelson. "This new law may be considered consumer-friendly, but it also imposes requirements for the buyer, the seller, and the agent, which could prove to be tricky to negotiate and can set a trap for the uninformed or unprotected."
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Ms. Nelson explained that the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) proposed a sales integrity and disclosure rule last year, but the rule did not pass. Some of the rule's proponents went public with the mission of getting legislation similar to Florida's passed in every state across the nation. "It's likely that the proposed rule will get passed by USEF sooner or later," noted Ms. Nelson. "But for now, the government, in a state-by-state process, is taking control of the situation."
Jess Jackson, a Thoroughbred race horse owner, and Ned Bonnie, a long-time USEF member and equine attorney, are leading the movement, aiming to eliminate fraud by requiring full disclosure in horse transactions.¬ The movement towards transparency in horse transactions is based on the assumption that these transactions can and should be documented in the same way as real estate transactions.¬ "This idea is the norm in the business world but it does represent a significant change for our industry," pointed out Ms. Tucker. "Buying or leasing a horse has always been a murky process that never before required adherence to specific laws."
The requirements in Florida's law primarily apply to transactions involving dual agency, but there are also significant new requirements that apply to any transaction in the horse industry. "The Florida law is a bit tricky. Actually, it will be easier to run afoul of the requirements than it will be to comply," pointed out Ms. Tucker.¬ "This is no time to guess about whether you're doing it right or not."
Ms. Nelson and Ms. Tucker recommend that parties involved in a horse transaction in Florida need to know the ground rules of the Florida law, which applies to leases as well. A written bill of sale is required and it must contain the name, address and signature of the buyer and seller, the name of the horse and its sire and dam (if known), the breed and registry status of the horse (if applicable and if known), the horse's age (if known), the date of the sale, the purchase price of the horse, a seller's warranty of title (which must be worded exactly as set forth in the law), and a buyer's acknowledgment of warranties (which must be worded exactly as set forth in the law). With a very limited exception, any agent's commission in excess of $500 must be disclosed to both the buyer and seller, in writing and the principal for whom the agent is acting must consent in writing to the payment
The HorseClosings.com attorneys pointed out that full disclosure is not a new legal requirement - it has always been the law that an agent is under an obligation to disclose to his/her principal any and all information pertaining to a transaction. "But an agent did not really run afoul of the law unless information was requested and not disclosed, or the disclosure was incomplete or inaccurate," noted Ms. Nelson. "Until now, there was no liability for simply failing to document a transaction in a specific manner. Now there is. With laws like Florida's in place, you simply cannot do business on a handshake - you wouldn't buy real estate that way, and now you cannot buy a horse that way either and be in compliance with the law."
HorseClosings.com is an easy solution to complying with the new laws because it provides settlement services for horse transactions using the same service model as a real estate closing company.
"Full disclosure and compliance can and should be done," pointed out Ms. Tucker. "It's merely a matter of understanding the documenting requirements and complying with those requirements, which is what we do at HorseClosings.com."
Krysia Carmel Nelson, Esq. earned her B.A. from Dartmouth College and her law degree from Villanova University. In private practice, Ms. Nelson represents leading horse owners, trainers, riders, breeders, equestrian facilities, major farms, clubs and associations across all nationally and internationally recognized disciplines. A frequent speaker at industry conferences, including the National Equine Law Conference, she also teaches at the Washington & Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia.¬ A lifelong equestrian, she still competes regularly on the "A" show circuit in the amateur hunter divisions.
Tamara L. Tucker, Esq. earned her B.A. at Mary Washington College, graduating cum laude, and earned her¬ J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law. In addition to her business and insurance law practice, Ms. Tucker handles dozens of equine law cases annually. In recent litigation, she received a verdict on behalf of a defendant farm owner in a $1 million premises liability action; a verdict on behalf of the plaintiff horse owner in a breach of contract claim; and a settlement on behalf of a policyholder in an equine mortality coverage case involving a $500,000 broodmare. Ms. Tucker regularly shows in the amateur hunter divisions with trainer Tommy Serio and has garnered tricolors at "A" and "AA" shows throughout the east coast.
CONTACT INFORMATION: HorseClosings.com, 600 Peter Jefferson Parkway, Suite 100, Charlottesville, Virginia 22911. Phone: 1-434-826-9270, Fax: 434-979-0037, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
. Website: http://horseclosings.com/
PHOTO CAPTION: Tamara Leigh Tucker, Esq., HorseClosings.com PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Nelson & Tucker, PLC. This photo may be used only in relation to this press release.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/horseclosings-florida-law-horse-sales-11-08.html">HorseClosings.com Helps Buyers, Sellers, and Agents Stay in Compliance with Florida's New Law on Horse Sales</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com