Silvermine Kennels - interesting clause in their contracts... - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums

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Old 03-06-2012, 11:47 PM
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Silvermine Kennels - interesting clause in their contracts...

Ever wonder why there are very few (if any) negative comments from buyers of Silvermine puppies? It's probably because they are afraid that they are going to get their pants sued off!

Quote:
Covenant not to Disparage. Buyer(s) understand(s) that the eventual personality and/or behavioral traits of the dog purchased under this Agreement cannot be guaranteed. As such, and knowing that any disparaging remarks against Silvermine Kennel, its owners, operators, or employees will result in irrepairable harm to Silvermine Kennel and its business, Buyer(s) agree(s) to refrain from making any disparaging remarks or comments, whether publicly or privately made, concerning Silvermine Kennel, its owners, operators, or employees, or the dogs bred at Silvermine Kennel. Buyer(s) agree(s) to pay liquidated damages of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) for each and every single disparaging remark. __________ Buyer Initial Here.
This also appears in their stud dog contract so if anyone ever gets to use the Silvermine studs (which according to said contract is ONLY Silvermine bitches), they are bound by this clause as well.

I do wonder about the legality of this - I would think that it would be a violation of a persons First Amendment rights. However, if someone initialed this, I wonder if that would be seen as giving up those rights?

BTW, the latest match made in H*** - Silvermine now owns a White Dove bitch (Carais Sophia) who has been bred to a White Dove stud (Carais Charlie). Charlie is 16 months old. At least Sophia has Hips/Elbows done and heart done by a Practitioner.
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:46 AM
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So what next....Silvermine puppy buyers you are not allowed to have your dogs xrayed, hearts examined by board certified cardiologists or eyes examined by canine opthamologists and post said results in OFA because that will cause Silvermine irreparable harm???
Give me a break!
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LibertyME View Post
So what next....Silvermine puppy buyers you are not allowed to have your dogs xrayed, hearts examined by board certified cardiologists or eyes examined by canine opthamologists and post said results in OFA because that will cause Silvermine irreparable harm???
Give me a break!
Well no - that gets a little more confusing because in one paragraph of their "breeder puppy contract", it says: (emphasis mine)
Quote:
Buyer(s) shall have the dog’s hips and elbows evaluated by the Othopedic Foundation Of America (“OFA”).
and in another part:
Quote:
Buyer(s) may have the dog’s hips and elbows evaluated by the Orthopedic Foundation Of America ("OFA").
Evidently though, Silvermine themselves either don't do OFA or they only do prelims since very few, if any, of the dogs listed on their site have final OFA clearances. (With the notable exception of the White Dove bitch who came to them with those final clearances already done). Also, there is absolutely NOTHING in this contract about having eyes and hearts done and their "warranty" only covers their pups hearts, eyes, and elbows "within one(1) year of the animal’s birth date".

Since the wording in the contract says "disparaging remarks", I am thinking that if you had the results posted publicly as proof to back up what was said, they would not win in court. However, I'm guessing that they would still sue knowing that most people would probably not have the money to fight it.
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:22 AM
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I'm going to preface my comment with a big ol' "I'M NOT A LAWYER," so please take the rest of what I say with that in mind.

That clause is unenforceable, I think, though it would certainly give me pause. It's certainly not written by a lawyer. "Disparaging" means to represent as having little worth, so it would actually cover a pretty limited set of circumstances, though it's clearly intended to prevent any and all criticism.

But anyway, contracts cannot supersede existing legal protections, so you can write clauses like that as much as you want, but if they conflict with an existing state or federal law, they can't be enforced. You cannot set aside your rights simply by initialing a clause like this. There are ways you can give up your right to disclose certain kinds of information (i.e., there can be non-compete contracts and trade secret clauses), but nothing as broad-reaching as what the Silvermine folks have tried for here.

In this case, as long as the person who signed the contract followed the rules of good manners and common sense like sticking to the facts and not using heated language,—which I'd recommend even if you haven't signed a clause like this—I don't see how they could be held to that $5000/comment provision. They could, however, be dragged into court over it, which would be unpleasant, even if they won.

If you think about it, you'd be a fool to sign a clause like that, enforceable or not. For me, it would be the biggest red flag of all that a breeder was attempting to prevent me from any kind of discussion of problems down the road. It makes it sound like the breeder is gearing up to screw me over and is trying to get me to sign away my rights to any recourse. What if they really did do something wrong? According to the clause, I'd just have to accept it and let them do whatever they want, because even a private conversation that doesn't reflect well on Silvermine would theoretically cost me $5000.
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:50 PM
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hehe - same preface here, I am no lawyer and I do not play one on tv. This is merely my opinion, it should not be considered as anything more than that.

I would think that this particular clause could be considered unconscionable under the law. Unconscionability is defined as "a contract or bargain which is so unfair to a party that no reasonable or informed person would agree to it." Considering that it applies to both public AND private conversations, I would think that unconscionability would apply. However, the person arguing that would again have to defend themselves in court.
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:59 PM
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As we've seen in other threads though, I wonder how many of their customers actually sit down and read the contract and think it through before signing it. I'm glad you started this thread. Maybe it will come up in an internet search for the breeder's name and it will give someone pause.
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nolefan View Post
As we've seen in other threads though, I wonder how many of their customers actually sit down and read the contract and think it through before signing it. I'm glad you started this thread. Maybe it will come up in an internet search for the breeder's name and it will give someone pause.
I was thinking the same thing about people actually reading and understanding the contract before they sign. I would be willing to bet that even those who do read it and know what it means still sign. If they don't sign, they have to walk away from a puppy (and a $500 deposit).

I wonder what Silvermine says to the ones who do actually read that part and question it?
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:51 PM
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That essentially says that you're signing away your first amendment rights. Lol. You can say anything negative about someone or something (i.e. a business) that you want to...provided your statements are true. However, if your comments aren't true...you're going to get dragged into court based on slander or libel (depending on the form of communication used).
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:04 PM
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I spoke with the owner a while back in my initial breeder search, after talking with him, this doesn't surprise me one bit. The guy is 100% in it for the money, he's capitalizing as much as he can off of the "English Cream" fad. I guess I can say that though, since I didn't initial that contract....lol what a joke.
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Old 03-19-2012, 09:16 PM
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Well..here goes.
My dog is 10 mos. old today. We purchased the dog ($2900 with shipping) from Silvermine Kennels in Kentucky. The dog just came home yesterday from a local orthopedic vet in New York after having surgery to repair "Severe Elbow Dysplagia" The bill for the surgery alone was $3900. Not including all the months of in and out of the vet, xrays, meds etc..
I must say, we absolutely love this dog and he is GORGEOUS. With that being said, I did call Mike Denny and explained to him that Dannen has been limping for months & it turns out the poor puppy has very bad dysplagia in his elbow and...arthritis (he was 9 mos. when we found out) Turns out, I knew there was no way I would get any help with the vet bills, and I wasn't expecting it quite honestly. I just called to let him know that is in his bloodlines. I was told that no one EVER came back to him with that complaint. What I was told was that his warranty on the puppy was that I return our dog to him..he would have the elbow repaired and resell the dog as a "housepet". Then, he would send me a brand new puppy.
I am being quite careful in not using any "disparaging" remarks, because yes, I did sign that clause too. We too have been advised by counsel that it's unenforcable, but whats done is done at this point. Am I an unhappy Golden Retriever owner? You betcha' !!
Do with it what you wish..this was our experience with Silvermine Kennels.
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