Dressage Horse

Schelstraete’s Client Wins Procedure about a Horse with Alleged Back and Behavioral Problems!

Schelstraete’s client (‘client’) sold a dressage horse in 2017. More than six months after the sale, the buyer stated that the horse did not comply with the purchase agreement or that she bought the horse under influence of error since the horse was defected with an inflammation in the back and was afflicted with serious behavioral problems.

First, the client has successfully argued that the purchase could not qualify as a consumer purchase since the professional intermediary of the client did not act as an authorized representative. Now that the purchase does not qualify as a consumer purchase, it is up to the buyer to prove that the horse did not comply with the purchase agreement at the time of delivery.

In that context, the client has argued that the horse was not defected at the time of delivery and that no evidence was provided by the buyer that would show the contrary. The judge followed the client with his defense and ruled that the buyer did not provide any evidence of her statement that the horse had defects upon delivery. For example, the specialists consulted by the buyer argued that the alleged defects cannot be back-dated to the time of delivery. In fact, during the clinical and radiographic purchase examination prior to the delivery of the horse, the vet provided a positive purchase advice. As a result, according to the court, the buyer was unable to legally annul the purchase agreement.

The judge also dismissed the claim to annul the agreement on the grounds of error, because the client would have concealed that the horse had bumps / skin irritation. The buyer did not provide any proof that the horse had dangerous bumps prior to delivery and that these bumps cause the problems that the horse faced. The buyer did not examine the bumps (directly) by a veterinarian. Furthermore, the buyer did not exclude the fact that the bumps are a result of stress, caused by for example the castration or change of stabling. Thus, the argument that the buyer bought the horse under influence of error is not proven. Based on which, the claim for annulment of the agreement has also been rejected by the court.

The decision of the court is published on Rechtspraak.nl: ECLI:NL:RBGEL:2019:6250.

The client was represented by Luc Schelstraete and Joëlle Bongers.

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