Conversations With Equestrians: Polly Hey Panos

By Tammy Chipko

Meet Randy Hey and Polly Hey Panos of Blue Ribbon Law…

Randy Hey is a respected trial attorney based in Redwood City, California. He has practiced law for 36 years, working much of that time as a prosecutor with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

Polly Hey Panos, Randy’s daughter, is a successful equine attorney now in business with her father in Redwood City. She has been involved with horses for 27 years and has competed on the hunter-jumper show circuit for 25 years.

I spoke with Polly Hey Panos regarding her work within the Equestrian World.

TC: How did you get involved in representing horse enthusiasts?
PHP: I have been involved with horses most of my life. My mother is a trainer and I compete in the Hunter/Jumpers. As a child my dream was to work as an attorney with my father. He was ready for a change from prosecutorial work, so we decided to work together. This allows me to practice law in an industry that I love.

TC: What does your practice cover?
PHP: We represent clients in all matters relating to horses including drafting all types of contracts; contract disputes; sales and lease disputes; mortality issue disputes; immigration law and advice; formation of partnerships, corporations, LLCs and LLPs; property liability; horse insurance and disputes; zoning and zoning disputes; disciplinary matters with the USEF; trainer/breeder liability and breeding issues.

TC: Why do you think this is so important for anyone involved in the horse industry?
PHP: Problems for horse owners arise in many ways, such as: (1) an oral agreement to buy a horse, when you should have had a written agreement, (2) assuming you have liability insurance – only to learn that you don’t, (3) failing to disclose the horse’s past medical problems when applying for insurance, (4) buying a horse without a vet check, (5) buying a horse overseas – to name a few on the list. Business owners need to understand the importance of contracts. You need to protect yourself, having programs in place that prevent unnecessary lawsuits due to, among other things: faulty tack, mismatching of horse and rider, and especially Safety Helmet issues. These are just a few examples of preventable problems. Prevention is key.

TC: How does Hey & Hey help with buying and selling of horses?
PHP: We have a lot of information on our web site regarding steps to take when trying and buying horses. We also explain the importance of protecting the owner of the horse. Among the ways a seller can protect his liability is to first require that the buyer sign a waiver, releasing the seller of all liability from the horse. Release forms in California must include specific language to be enforceable. We also can help facilitate purchases overseas. We provide a lot of useful information at our web site.

TC: How many situations could be prevented if the correct actions are taken ahead of time? 
PHP: I think most problems that arise can most definitely be prevented ahead of time if the necessary contracts are in place and everyone involved understands the contracts. They protect everyone. Can I say it again? Prevention is key.

TC: Thank you for your time. I understand that you offer a free consultation.
PHP: You’re welcome, and thank you! To schedule a free consultation or if someone has questions, we can be reached at (650) 216-6012

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