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☛ God, Guts, Guns and Taxes – 1-5-18

Posted by on Jan 5, 2018 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE NEWS, INDUSTRY NEWS, LAWSUITS & INDICTMENTS, REINING NEWS, RICK'S CORNER, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 15 comments

GOD, GUTS, GUNS AND TAXES

By Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Jan. 5, 2018

 

by Richard E. Dennis

The American Horse Industry, Avoiding the Pitfalls by Rick Dennis.

While growing up in Alabama in the 1950s, my grand father always stressed these four premises to live by:  “Always put GOD first in your life, have the GUTS to take on life and live successfully, keep a GUN handy in case you need it and always pay your TAXES.”

Paying taxes is a phrase resonating with every working American this time of the year simply due to the fact April 15 is the time we either file our taxes or file for an extension. Like the old adage, “There are two certainties in life: Death and Taxes!”  No one gets out alive and with new tax laws, Uncle Sam can and will tax you in the grave.

However, there are steps we can take to minimize the amount of taxes we pay by simply taking advantage of the built-in deductions and write offs included in the IRS tax code.

In my opinion, one fact of certainty is: “The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) seems to hate horses.”  In my book THE AMERICAN HORSE INDUSTRY, Avoiding The Pitfalls, I devoted an entire chapter to identifying whether your horse operation is a business or a hobby. One of the included items in this book is a chapter that stresses the importance of determining whether or not your horse operation is a business or a hobby as well as other necessary factors to successfully survive an IRS or State audit of your horse operation and yourself.

 

Case-In-Point:

In June 2016, I opened a new bank account at Chase Bank in Covington, Louisiana.  According to the information supplied by the bank officer who opened my account, new Federal and State tax regulations and laws require the financial institution to be the first line of defense in identifying fraudulent money laundering or illegal operations by account holders. Essentially, the bank opens your account with the information you supply them including providing your name, social security number, business name and business Tax Identification Number (TIN), along with a copy of your completed financial questionnaire to Federal and State taxing agencies for verification, authentication of your citizenship and to check for any outstanding tax bills, liens, etc.

Further, the brief financial questionnaire generally encompasses annual income, expenses, net profits for a given period, tax filings, assets and liabilities. In essence, and in my opinion, this is used for a comparison by the Federal and State taxing agencies to perform a brief audit of prior tax filings to determine the accuracy of your prior tax reports, among other items of interest. According to the Chase Bank officer, this is a requirement to open a bank account with Chase Bank. No completed financial questionnaire = no bank account!

 

Maintaining Immaculate Financial Records:

Another aspect stressed in my book is the importance of maintaining immaculate financial records for both your personal and business financial reporting. For the record, I’m in the horse business and I file a Schedule C, along with my personal 1040, which represents my Limited Liability Company’s financial records. In my case and after opening the bank account, I received an arbitrary tax assessment from the State of Louisiana for a tax bill of $41,589.73 for the 2015 year.

Knowing that I didn’t owe the proposed tax liability, I contacted the Louisiana Department of Revenue and inquired about the certified letter I had received and I was informed that an unnamed source had provided to the State that I made $701,400.00 in 2015. I informed the State of Louisiana tax representative that the figure she quoted me was more than my gross annual income. In fact, it was a well-documented and IRS-approved 20-year “carry-forward casualty loss” from Hurricane Katrina back in 2005.

However, I was told I had two choices: 1) Protest the arbitrary assessment through the tax process or 2) pay the amount assessed plus interest and penalty.

If I did not file an objection, I would also be assessed a taxable amount by the IRS to include interest and penalties. The worst that could happen if I didn’t address this scenario is: I would be charged with tax evasion, my bank accounts would be seized, tax liens would be filed on my property and I would face prosecution.

I elected to fight the proposed tax liability and requested a hearing. On the day of the hearing, I represented myself “in-proper-person,” essentially meaning I was my own lawyer. This is not a recommendation that I would make to everyone.

I figured that since I knew my tax records better than anyone, I would be the best person to explain my case at the hearing. On hearing day, I was armed with my Federal and State tax filings from 2005 forward, which completely documented the $769,000.00 20-year carry-forward loss as well as the very well documented IRS approval of the loss. At the hearing I explained, that whoever their “erroneous source” was, he or she failed to recognize that there was a minus sign in the front of my 2015 tax filing amount and the -$701,400.00 carry forward to my 2016 tax year had a minus sign, not a plus sign. Therefore, the amount was a loss and not income.

 

Resolution:

On Jan. 2, 2018 I received a letter from the Louisiana Department of Revenue dated December 29, 2017 stating, “The outstanding liability for the above referenced period(s) has been cancelled based on the information provided. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.”

Over all, we all have to pay taxes.  My suggestion to all readers of this article is to keep and maintain immaculate financial records with every annual tax filing. I keep all of my annual tax filings instead of merely the three years suggested by the IRS.  If I hadn’t had all of my tax filings readily at hand, the outcome of this saga might have resulted in an ominous ending.

Click for tax letter from state of Louisiana>>

 

Another Happy Ending:


Recently I received a Federal Tax ruling entitled UNITED STATES TAX COURT, Finis R. Welch and Linda J. Waite – Petitioners Versus Commissioner of Internal Revenue – Respondent.  This tax ruling is an extremely good read and involves another individual in the cutting horse industry which resulted in the cancellation of millions of dollars in proposed tax liabilities due to their immaculate records retention.

Click for Stunning Tax Court Victory>>

Click for Center Ranch Tax Ruling>>

Certified Public Accountant (CPA):

For the record, I’m not a certified public accountant. However, I’ve been in business for 33 years with a 48-year professional background including: Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions, Forensic Audit, Risk Management and a 19-year history as a professional in the horse business but I highly recommend the incorporation of a certified public accountant in your life to formulate your tax filings.

 

Determining Whether You’re A Business Or A Hobby:

The key to operating a successful horse business is to determine whether you’re in the horse business for fun or to make a profit as a business owner doing something you love. If the former is your answer, go have fun. If the latter is your answer and you’ve decided to enter the equine industry as a business owner, then I suggest you perform a self evaluation of your proposed or existing business to determine if all of your bases are covered: For example:

1. What is your business entity: a Corporation, Limited Liability Company, Sole-Owned Proprietorship, Partnership, etc.,?

2. Does your business have its own Federal Tax Identification Number (which you should have), or are you using your social security number for this?

3. How are your bank accounts set up? In order to avoid the “co-mingling of Funds Rule,” i.e., mixing personal non-business funds with business funds, you need to have separate bank accounts: one for your personal and one for your business.

4. If your business is like mine, where I receive checks in the mail for services rendered as well as cash payments, are you incorporating the use of a cash book to keep track of these funds, especially if you aren’t depositing the cash in the bank?  If not, I suggest you incorporate one and each time you spend from this “stash of cash,” make a record of it along with maintaining a receipt for spent funds.

5. Are your accounting books immaculate? If not, seek the advice of a Certified Public Accountant to assist you in this matter.

6. Does your horse business have a written “Business Plan?”  If not, I suggest you consult with a Certified Public Account and write one.  Essentially, your business plan is your survivability insurance in the event of audit.  After the key phrase used by the auditors is, “Are you in business to make a profit?”

7. “Intent To Make A Profit” is your key phrase you should memorize in all of your business affairs. During an audit, this separates you and your horse business from being identified as a hobby versus a viable business. It’s OK not to make a profit if you truly intended to make a profit during an annual period. However, you need to consult with a Certified Public Accountant to further explain this aspect of the tax code.

In setting up your business, always show an intent to make a profit by using advertising. I suggest to all business owners that they should have a web site to promote their business on the internet. Also, it’s an impressive marketing tool for prospective clients to evaluate your services.

An immaculate and accurate set of books will allow your tax preparer to utilize all of the items available to you as a business owner to minimize the amount of taxes you pay during an annual tax filing cycle as well as a defense in the event of a tax audit.

“Until Next Time, Keep Em Between The Bridle!”

WIND RIVER COMPANY LLC

Richard E. “Rick” Dennis

Managing Member

Phone: (985) 630-3500

Email: windrivercompany@gmail.com

Email – Personal: windrivercompany.rd@gmail.com

Web Site: http://www.windrivercompanyllc.com

 

 

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☛ Dufurrena sues Vogels for disclosure 11-28-17

Posted by on Nov 28, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE LAWSUITS, INDUSTRY NEWS, LAWSUITS & INDICTMENTS, REINING NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

DUFURRENA FILES COUNTER CLAIM AND SUES VOGELS FOR DISCLOSURE

By Glory Ann Kurtz
Nov. 28, 2017

On Oct. 7, 2017, Edward L. Dufurrena, the owner of Dufurrena Cutting Horses, LLC, Gainesville, Texas, was sued by Donald Eugene Vogel and his wife Janie S. Vogel, stating that they had become partners in Dos Cats Partners on March 11, 2011, investing $105,000 in the four horses: Auspicious Cat, Ozzum Man, Ozum Cat Cat and What Snaky Cat, as well as three embryos: one from Miss Ella Ray sired by Auspicious Cat, one from Miss Ella Rey sired by Metallic Cat and one out of Hickory Wheel sired by Auspicious Cat.

The suit continued that horses remaining in the partnership include Auspicious Cast, Stevie Rey Von and Crazy Train. Stevie Rey Von is the embryo out of Miss Ella Rey sired by Metallic Cat.

In 2015, Stevie Rey Von, ridden by Dufurrena, won the NCHA Cutting Horse Futurity, winning $341,570. Court papers say Dufurrena collected all the winnings, never sharing them with the Vogels for their 49 percent interest. They contend that Dufurrena never paid them anything according to the partnership agreement, with Dufurrena sending them self-generated invoices, containing questionable and unsubstantiated expenses.

On Oct. 20, Dufurrena filed an answer and counter claim against the Vogels, who were 66 at the time of the partnership agreement, and Jandon LLC, a Texas Limited Partnership, whose registered agent is Donald Eugene Vogel. The claim stated  that “over the years, the Vogels had placed 10 horses with Dufurrena and were not current with their account, accumulating an unpaid balance of approximately  $340,000. On Feb. 6, 2017, when the defendants came to pick up their horses, it was discovered that Dufurrena had a possessory lien under Texas law as agisters, requiring the person in possession of the horse to retain possession so that it may be sold to apply the proceeds of the sale to the unpaid balance of the charges subject to the lien.

Dufurrena’s lawsuit claims he had received a $100,000 check from the account of Jandon LLC which was “no good” and did not clear the bank despite multiple requests by the Plaintiffs that the check be covered. He claims the defendants have refused to make good on the check and the unpaid balance of the invoices.

The defendants are claiming damages of $340,000 exclusive of attorneys’ fees, costs and pre-judgment interest.

In his counter claim Dufurrena said the Vogels entered into a co-owners agreement pursuant to which the Vogels owned 49 percent of certain horses and embryos. One of the embryos died and no foal was produced. He said that with the knowledge of the Counter-Defendants, the Dufurrenas provided at their cost a replacement foal, which was accepted by counter-defendants. He said the Dufurrenas had no obligation to replace the failed embryo.

He continues that neither of the Counter-Defendants nor any partnership known as Dos Cats Partners owns any co-ownership or other interest in the horses known as Auspicious Cat, Creyzy Train or Stevie Rey Von. Counter-defendants interests in Auspicious Cat and Creyzy Train were applied against their unpaid accounts pursuant to the co-owners agreement. Dufurrena said Stevie Rey Von as not part of the co-owners agreement and Counter-Defendants have no interest in such horse, thus, they have no interest in his winnings.

Counter-Plaintiffs also seek a declaration that neither Counter-Defendant owns any interest in Stevie Rey Von, whether through a co-owners agreement, partnership or others well as Creyzy Train or Auspicious Cat, saying those interests were terminated before 2017. They Counter-Plaintiffs say they are entitled to an award from the Court for their costs and reasonable and necessary attorney’s fees as are equitable and just.

The documents went on to say that “If there is a finding that Counter-Defendants now own any interest in the horses made the subject of the co-owners agreement,  Counter-Plaintiffs seek a recovery of all charges due for such horse that were not paid when the offset was made – plus reasonable and necessary attorney fees.

The latest word on this case is that they are in mediation.

Click for Ed Dufurrena response>>

Click for Ed Dufurrena Request 4 disclosure>>

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☛ Lawsuit filed in barrel horse case 11-7-17

Posted by on Nov 7, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE LAWSUITS, INDUSTRY NEWS, LAWSUITS & INDICTMENTS, REINING NEWS, RODEO & BULLRIDING NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 1 comment

LAWSUIT FILED IN MADISON COUNTY, TEXAS REGARDING A BARREL HORSE 

 

SAVANNAH ROBERTSON FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST VETERINARIAN CAMERON STOUDT AND TEXAS EQUINE HOSPITAL

By Glory Ann Kurtz
Nov. 7, 2017

On or about May 13, 2016, Savannah Robertson, Los Osmos, Calif., entered into a contract with Michelle Alley, Madisonville, Texas, an agent for Hope B. Martin, Huntsville, Texas, the owner of a barrel horse named Crown N Diamonds, a.k.a.“Cinderella.”

Prior to the purchase Robertson consulted Cameron Stoudt, DVM of the Texas Equine Hospital, Bryan, Texas, to conduct a pre-purchase report on the horse. Relying on her Dr. Stoudt’s pre-purchase report, Savannah Robertson believed the horse was sound and fit for performance purposes.

Approximately three days after Robertson took possession of the horse, Cinderella experienced a “patella lockup,” or an upper fixation of the left hindquarter stifle ligament. The first patella lockup occurred in the round pen and the second occurred while Robertson was riding the mare, causing the horse and rider to fall to the ground.

Thereafter, the  horse was brought to a California veterinarian who identified the locking patella or upper-fixation condition and referred the horse to the Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center in Los Olivos, Calif. Upon evaluation, the veterinary clinic also identified this abnormality and treated the horse for the patella lockup condition.

Click for Locking patella explanation>>

Robertson realized the horse she had just purchased was not sound due to the locking patella, and would be unfit for barrel racing or any other performance purpose. She notified both the agent Michelle Alley and seller Hope Martin of their violations based on the deceptive sale of the wholly unfit performance horse.

Robertson also learned after the sale that the veterinarian Cameron Stoudt DVM had previously seen and treated the horse on a number of occasions and had given the  horse multiple injections for the stifle lock issue, knowing that the horse was unfit as a performance horse – yet failed to disclose that information. Dr. Stoudt was employed by Texas Equine Hospital.

The purchase turned into several lawsuits filed by the seller and the agent. with the most recent being filed by the buyer, Savannah Robertson, who hired attorney Robert Wagstaff of McMahon Surovik Suttle, P.C. of Abilene, Texas, who sent a demand letter for payment of damages to the seller Hope B. Martin and her agent Michelle Alley on Sept. 30, 2016, stating damages and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA), especially  Section 17.46 of the Texas Business Commerce Code.

Court documents state that on Nov. 3, 2017, Robertson, filed a First Amended Original Petition in the 278th Judicial District of Madison County, Texas, against the seller Hope B. Martin, the veterinarian Cameron Stoudt, DVM and her employer Texas Equine Hospital PC stating the “Plaintiff intends to conduct discovery under Level 3 of Rule 190.3 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure with the damages sought being  within the jurisdictional limits of the court.”

Click for Texas Equine Hospital website>>

The documents state that the Texas jurisdiction is proper since the parties entered into a contract in Texas, to be performed in whole or in part, in Madison County, Texas. Also, because a substantial part of the conduct giving rise to the lawsuit occurred in Madison County, Texas, and a substantial part of the events and omissions which created this cause of action occurred in Madison County, Texas.

Robertson notified both Michelle Alley and Hope B. Martin of their DTPA violations based on the deceptive sale of the wholly unfit performance horse. Further, it was learned after the sale that Defendant Cameron Stoudt, DVM had previously seen and treated the horse on a number of occasions and had given the horse multiple injections for the stifle lock issue and; therefore, knew the horse was unfit as a performance horse, yet wholly failed to disclose it. At all times she was acting in the course and scope of her employment with defendant Texas Equine Hospital P.C.

CAUSE OF ACTION CLAIMED AGAINST SELLER HOPE B. MARTIN:

In the court documents, Robertson claims Hope B. Martin committed DTPA violations by representing that the barrel horse had “characteristics, uses, benefits and qualities” which it did not and she failed to disclose the information concerning the barrel horse, which was known at the time of the transaction and as such filed to disclose the information to induce Robertson into a transaction in which she would not have entered, had the information been disclosed.

CLAIMED DAMAGES INCURRED BY HOPE B. MARTIN:

Court documents state that on Sept. 30, 2016, Robertson provided written notice to Hope B. Martin, advising her of specific complaints and the amount of damages, including reasonable attorney’s fees incurred as of the date of the letter. Robertson said she suffered economic damages in an amount within the jurisdiction limits of the court, for which it now sues, including but not limited to: the original purchase price of the  horse, the costs of all veterinarian exams, transportation and boarding costs and all other costs association with the sale and purchase of the  horse.

Also claiming mental anguish damages, Robertson sued for actual and incurred damages, mental anguished treble (3 times amount of damages) allowed by law.

CLAIMED CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST VETERINARIAN DR. CAMERON STOUDT:

Robertson claims that prior to her purchase of the barrel horse, she consulted Cameron Stoudt, DVM, an experienced veterinarian in the Brazos Valley region, to assess the horse’s present and future soundness and any abnormalities that may adversely affect the horse’s ability to perform for the sole reason of purchase – barrel racing.

She claims that Dr. Stoudt made negligent misrepresentations to her regarding the horse’s health, soundness, medical conditions and ability to perform. She claims the vet supplied false information to her, upon which Robertson relied and as a result suffered damages.

Court documents claim that Dr. Stoudt failed to disclose that the horse was not sound, as its patella locked up in its left rear leg, making the horse unfit for barrel racing or any other performance purpose. Robertson said she had relied on the veterinarian’s Pre-Purchase Assessment and Report in her decision to purchase the horse and enter into the contract with Michelle Alley and Hope B. Martin.

The document included the fact that the acts and omissions of Dr. Stoudt occurred while she was in the course and scope of her employment with Defendant Texas Equine Hospital, who the court case claims is directly liable to the Plaintiff for the acts and omissions of Dr. Cameron Stoudt, DVM and The damages proximately caused thereof.

CLAIMED DAMAGES INCURRED BY DR. CAMERON STOUDT AND TEXAS EQUINE HOSPITAL: 

Damages for which Dr. Cameron Stoudt, DVM and the Texas Equine Hospital are liable for include her purchase price of the horse, expenses incurred in the transaction, expenses and upkeep of the horse since the date of the purchase and lost profits and business opportunities for having a  horse that was unfit for its particular purpose: a barrel racing horse. Robertson also seeks recovery of pre- and post-judgment interest and reasonable and necessary fees for expert witnesses, copies of depositions and costs of court, as authorized by law.

Robertson is also demanding a trial by jury for which required fees have been paid. She is asking, “the defendants be cited to appear and answer the suit. Also, she is asking that upon final hearing of the case, the judgment be entered for the Plaintiff and against the Defendants for damages in an amount within the jurisdictional limits of the Cost, together with pre-judgment interest at the maximum rate allowed by law, post-judgment interest at the legal rate, costs of court, reasonable and necessary attorneys’ fees and other such and further relief to which the Plaintiff may be entitled at law or in equity.”

Click for court documents>>

 

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☛ When barrel racing turns into a lawsuit 10-16-17

Posted by on Oct 16, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, HORSE LAWSUITS, INDUSTRY NEWS, LAWSUITS & INDICTMENTS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 1 comment

 

 

WHEN BARREL RACING TURNS INTO A LAWSUIT

By Glory Ann Kurtz
Oct. 16, 2017

 

Today, barrel horses bring a lot of money – and that’s because they can win a lot of money. It doesn’t matter if the rider is a boy or a girl, a man or a woman, 10 years old or 60 years old, a newcomer or a professional. However, the important thing is how old the horse is, how well trained it is and most important of all, how sound it is – which means, “How long will he or she last by staying sound?”

 

A court case in Madisonville County, Texas, began on May 22, 2016, in which Savannah Robertson, Los Osmos, Calif., purchased a barrel horse named Crown N Diamonds, a.k.a. “Rosie” and “Cinderella,” from Hope B. Martin, Huntsville, Texas, through her agent/broker Michelle Alley, Madisonville, Texas, a professional in the barrel racing industry. Prior to the purchase, Robertson was told that Cinderella was a sound barrel-racing performance horse, even though the May 13, 2016 contract for the $10,000 sale stated the horse was being sold “as is.”

 

The purchase soon turned into a legal battle with the agent Michelle Alley being the Plaintiff filing a lawsuit against the defendants Hope B. Martin, the owner, and Savannah Robertson, the buyer. The reason was that approximately three days after Robertson took possession of the horse, on May 22, 2016, Cinderella experienced a “patella lockup” or an upper fixation of the left hindquarter stifle ligament. The first patella lockup occurred in the round pen and the second patella lockup occurred while Robertson was riding the mare, causing the horse and rider to go to the ground.

 

Thereafter, the horse was brought to a California veterinarian who identified the locking patella or upper-fixation condition and referred the horse to the Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center, Los Olivos, Calif. Upon evaluation, the veterinary clinic also identified this abnormality and treated the horse for the patella lockup condition.

 

What is a patella lockup?

 Horse-Jumping stifle. … A locking stifle (in vet words, an upward fixation of the patella or UFP, a common problem in horses that is often unrecognized and often misdiagnosed as general hind leg lameness or overlooked altogether. The stifle joint in a horse’s hind leg corresponds anatomically to the knee joint in the human leg. However, instead of appearing halfway down the limb like the human knee, the horse’s stifle doesn’t even look like a joint because it is hidden within the structure of the horse’s upper hind leg. If you put your hand on the front of the horse’s hind leg where it ties into the flank, you can feel the patella, a small bone that is the anatomic equal of the human kneecap. The patella sits just above the stifle joint where the horse’s femur (upper leg bone that ties into the hip) and the tibia (long bone above the hock) meet.

 

The medial patellar ligament has the important function of hooking over a notch in the end of the femur when the horse is standing still. This stabilizes the stifle and allows the standing or snoozing horse to bear weight on the hind leg without muscular effort. Normally, the ligament slides out of the notch when the horse swings its leg forward as it begins to walk. If the ligament gets hung up and doesn’t slip into an unlocked position, the hind leg can’t be flexed forward and the horse has to drag the stiffened limb forward for a few steps before the ligament releases. This is commonly known as a locking or sticking stifle. While veterinarians term the condition “upward fixation of the patella,” old-time horsemen have a simpler descriptive phrase: “That horse is stifled.” They might add, “Back him up a few steps to get it to release,” and this trick often works. The following image depicts a horse with a locked stifle. The situation becomes problematic for the horse and rider when the stifle inadvertently locks while the equestrian team is in full performance mode. A locked stifle in the performance arena or while under saddle in generally utility riding can cause serious injury to the rider and horse or in the worst case scenario – death or permanent paralysis, if the horse goes down.


 

It wasn’t long before a demand letter from Savannah Robertson’s attorney, Robert Wagstaff, McMahon, Surovik, Suttle PC of Abilene, Texas was forwarded to the seller Hope B. Martin and her agent Michelle Alley on Sept. 30, 2016 stating damages and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, especially – Section 17.46 of the Texas Business Commerce Code. More specifically, “Deceptive Trade Practices.” Unlawful – (a) False, misleading, or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful and are subject to action by the consumer protection division under 17.47, 17.58, 17.60 and 17.61 of this code.

 

However, upon receipt of the demand letter for payment of damages, court documents indicate the agent Michelle Alley hired attorney David Hammitt of Madisonville, Texas, to represent her in this matter by filing a lawsuit in her behalf against the buyer Savannah Robertson and the seller Hope B. Martin. Alley, the agent, had sued the buyer, Savannah Robertson, for breach of contract for desiring a rescission of the sale contract and a refund of funds. Thereafter, Robertson’s attorney countersued Alley, alleging violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DPTA) as previously stated, along with a realignment of Plaintiff and Defendants. More specifically, aligning Savannah Robertson as the Plaintiff and the agent Michelle Alley and the seller Hope B. Martin as the Defendants.

 

Further, Robertson’s lawsuit states the cause of action is “preexisting but undisclosed medical condition of the horse prior to the sale, that disqualifies Crown N Diamonds (Cinderella) as useful for the purpose identified by Robertson, i.e. a barrel-racing performance horse.” Therefore, disqualifying Crown N Diamonds (Cinderella) as a performance prospect for Robertson.

 

The lawsuit also stated that if these preexisting conditions would have been known prior to sale, it would have greatly affected Robertson’s opinion and she would have not bought the horse. The lawsuit further states this non-disclosure of disqualifying preexisting medical conditions was used to induce Robertson to buy the horse.

Link to the lawsuit>>

 

Then comes a strange twist:

 

Afterwards, Robertson’s attorney issued a series of subpoenas in this matter and the results are revealing and alarming to say the least. First, it was disclosed that while under the care, ownership and control of Michelle Gilbert of Bryan, Texas, the horse did in fact exhibit a series of medical treatments, (i.e.) locking patella, blistering the soft tissue surrounding the stifle ligament, hock injections, stifle injections, neck injections, colic treatment and treatment for a lameness of the right front hoof and proof of preexisting medical conditions. The treatments had been performed by Dr. Cameron Stoudt of the Texas Equine Hospital, Bryan, Texas who is also a contributor to “Barrel Horse News.”,

Medical Records

 

Other evidence contributing to a preexisting medical condition for the horse is included on the Facebook social media page of Gilbert where Gilbert openly admits the horse suffered from a locking patella as well as other injuries during training. A review of Stoudt’s medical records indicate after the last medical treatment, the owner (Gilbert) was selling the horse. A recovered advertisement by Gilbert states the horse is being sold as a “broodmare-sound-only horse, but may be runable in the future.”

 

Court documents report that the horse was sold by Gilbert to Hope B. Martin for $4,500, as a broodmare-sound-only mare. In Martin’s deposition, she states she was made aware of the preexisting medical conditions for the horse but “thought it was no big deal.” A scrutiny of the deposition transcripts didn’t reveal a challenge to Martin’s statement by Robertson’s attorney as to her veterinary knowledge that is sufficient for Martin to make such a medical evaluation of soundness.

 

Subpoenaed medical records also indicate Martin, by referral of Cameron Stoudt DVM, had the horse evaluated and treated at Texas A&M Medical University for the right front hoof injury and the records indicate the horse was also suffering from a degenerating navicular bone. For the record, Dr. Stoudt injected the horse’s right front navicular bursa on March 18, 2015. Also, for the record, court documents indicate none of these pre-existing medical conditions and treatments for the horse were ever conveyed to Savannah Robertson prior to the sale of the horse by Hope B. Martin and her agent Michelle Alley.

 

Another curious impact to this lawsuit indicates there are four individuals involved with this horse: Michelle Gilbert, Hope B. Martin, Michelle Alley and Cameron Stoudt DVM. It should be noted that Dr. Cameron Stoudt is the veterinarian of record for all three owners: Michelle Gilbert, Hope B. Martin and Savannah Robertson. It should also be noted that Dr. Stoudt treated the horse for Michelle Gilbert and Hope B. Martin as well as being the veterinarian of record who conducted the pre-purchase exams for Martin and Robertson. Dr. Stout passed the horse as sound on each pre-purchase veterinary exam.

 

When the depositions and other documents were scrutinized, it was learned that the agent Michelle Alley and the owner, Hope B. Martin, were advertising the horse as “Sound and Sane,” without mentioning any preexisting medical conditions and that the horse was in training with Michelle Alley to make her a “super star.” However, while under deposition scrutiny, each one denied having any alleged videos in their possession riding, exhibiting or showing the horse due to the fact that each of their cell phones had either been lost or collapsed prior to the depositions, which required replacement phones and a total loss of data.

 

But it was determined in Michelle Alley’s deposition that she is a “professional horsewoman” who makes a living training and exhibiting barrel horses as well as boarding, brokering, buying and selling horses. Another curiosity is in Alley’s lawsuit, where her attorney refers to Alley in this matter as a “consumer” rather than an “agent or broker” for the sale of Crown and Diamonds (Cinderella). For clarification, a “consumer” is one who buys a product. An Agent is one who represents an individual in the sale of a product or sells it in their behalf. Further scrutiny revealed professionals in the business are held to a higher standard than an individual just selling a personal horse.

 

On Sept. 11, 2017, an agreed-to “Order of Dismissal with Prejudice of Certain Claims” was filed jointly by the attorneys for Alley and Robertson, which essentially states Alley is dismissing her claims against Hope Martin and Savannah Robertson “with prejudice,” and Savannah Robertson dismissed her claim against Alley “with prejudice,” which essentially means the action can’t be filed in this court or any other court after dismissal.

 

However Robertson’s claim against Hope B. Martin remains intact and the lawsuit has been realigned as Savannah Robertson (as Plaintiff) vs Hope B. Martin (as Defendant).

 

 

Is the Seller a professional?

As Equine Legal Solutions explains: “Is the seller someone who sells horses as part of their business, such as a trainer or breeder, or are they an individual horse owner who sells a horse only occasionally?  If the seller is a professional, the sale may be subject to the Uniform Commercial Code, which provides that a “warranty of merchantability” is implied in every sale by a “merchant.”  In laymen’s terms, this means when a breeder or trainer sells a riding horse, there is an implied term that the horse is sound enough to be used as a riding horse. No warranties are implied in sales by individuals. The implied warranty of merchantability can be overcome by a specific statement in the sale contract disclaiming this warranty. Note, however, that contract statements such as “As Is,” “no warranties,” or “seller disclaims all warranties” are insufficient to successfully disclaim the warranty of merchantability – the word “merchantability” must be specifically mentioned in the contract disclaimer.

Click for Alley Perf Horses>>

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☛ Tommy Manion case covered by FW Star Telegram 10-13-17

Posted by on Oct 13, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE ABUSE, LAWSUITS & INDICTMENTS, REINING NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 1 comment

MANION BB GUN SHOOTING OF HORSE COVERED BY FORT WORTH STAR TELEGRAM

Fort Worth, Texas
Oct. 13, 2017

Friday the 13th only happened twice this year, and today was Tommy Manion’s unlucky day! Not only the NCHA, Allaboutcutting.com and Quarterhorsenews.com have covered the fact that he shot his stallion with a BB gun at an NCHA-approved show and when he was suspended by the NCHA for not following their new Zero Animal Abuse policy, he sued the NCHA. But now he has  announced he has dropped all charges and accepts his penalty. The prestigious Fort Worth Star Telegram and Senior Editor Max Baker have now gotten involved, not only covering the story but publishing the video!

Click on the following link for the article and video:

http://www.star-telegram.com/news/state/texas/-article178681691.html

 

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☛ Tommy Manion settles with NCHA 10-13-17

Posted by on Oct 13, 2017 in BREAKING NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, HORSE ABUSE, INDUSTRY NEWS, LAWSUITS & INDICTMENTS, REINING NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 2 comments

TOMMY MANION SETTLES LAWSUIT WITH NCHA

By Glory Ann Kurtz
Oct. 13, 2017

Due to the fact that I’m in the middle of a move, yesterday I was dreading to go to the Fort Worth Court House to attend the Tommy Manion vs NCHA lawsuit; however, Manion evidently came to his senses and realized he was in the wrong – apologizing to the NCHA in an open letter posted on the NCHA website  to the members, following a meeting with his lawyer and the NCHA on Wednesday, Oct. 11.

The case involved him shooting an unruly stallion that he brought to a cutting in Whitesboro, Texas, that he repeatedly shot in the hip with a BB gun concealed under a jacket on his arm. However, a cell-phone video taken of the entire event was sent to the NCHA and circulated among NCHA members. When they sanctioned him for animal abuse and the non-compliance with the association’s recently implemented Zero Animal Abuse policy, Manion filed a lawsuit against the NCHA.

However, it didn’t take long for him to drop the lawsuit and apologize in an open letter to NCHA officials and members that was  published on the NCHA website, realizing the evidence was overwhelming that he had violated the newly created Zero Tolerance Animal Abuse Policy of the NCHA. Besides, that the more than likely “unwinable” lawsuit was becoming very costly.

But Manion didn’t get completely off the hook for his apology, as the the settlement included the following terms of the settlement:

1.    Suspension of NCHA membership for six months beginning August 9, 2017

2.    NCHA Membership Probation for one year thereafter

3.    Fine payable to NCHA to $10,000.00

4.    Letter to the NCHA membership (which was included in yesterday’s post)

The NCHA announced they are pleased with the settlement and remains committed to its Zero Tolerance policy.

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