Contract woes come in a variety of flavors, like ice cream.

A few disputes arise because someone never bothered to read the contract. (“I’m sorry, judge, but I didn’t read it before I signed it” sounds ridiculous and almost never succeeds as a breach-of-contract defense.)

Some other disagreements come about because one of the parties read the contract but didn’t understand it.

A third variety of dispute involves two individuals who read the contract and understood it, or thought they did, but whose respective understandings of the agreement don’t mesh.

Last August, Mary Ann Cohen adopted a chestnut gelding named “Corona” from Project Sage Horse Rescue, a New York non-profit. Cohen’s understanding of the written adoption agreement was that the contract transferred legal ownership of Corona to her, with the only stipulation being adequate care for the horse.

Project Sage, on the other hand, argued that the adoption contract did not transfer ownership of Corona to Cohen. Instead, the contract amounted to a placement of Corona only, with Cohen designated as the animal’s “caregiver” rather than “owner.” The agreement, according to Project Sage, was a grant of custody not ownership, with numerous restrictions that allowed the horse rescue to maintain control over the welfare of horses it adopted out.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this disagreement over what the adoption contract actually meant led to a lawsuit in the Nassau County division of the New York Supreme Court.

Here Comes the Judge

The ci