HERDA STATUS OF AUSPICIOUS CAT GOES ON TRIAL
JURY LAYS MOST OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR INJURY OF OFFSPRING ON EDWARD AND SHONA DUFURRENA
By Glory Ann Kurtz
March 11, 2017
Following a seven-day trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division, an eight-member jury (six women and two men) finalized responsibility of a HERDA-infected foal sired by Auspicious Cat, owned by Dos Cats Partners (headed up by Edward and Shona Dufurrena, Gainesville, Texas), on the Dufurrenas.
The lawsuit was filed by Shawn, Lisa Victoria and Lauren Victoria Minshall, Hillsburgh, Ontario, Canada, the owners of one of Canada’s top Thoroughbred and cutting horse breeding and training operations, vs Dr. David Hartman’s Hartman Equine Reproduction Center, P.A. (HERC), Gainesville, Texas, who sent the semen of Auspicious Cat to the Minshalls to breed to Miss Tassa Lena.
WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE?
According to the jury, the Dufurrenas received 60 percent of the responsibility, with each receiving 30 percent of responsibility that caused or contributed to cause the occurrence or injury of a foal sired by Auspicious Cat out of the Minshall’s mare, Miss Tassa Lena. He was nicknamed “Otto,” and he was born with full-blown HERDA, a genetic skin disease. The disease was discovered when the colt was a 2-year-old and lesions appeared on its body while in training.
Also receiving responsibility were the Minshalls, with 10 percent going to each: Shawn, Lisa Victoria and their daughter Lauren Victoria, for a total of 30 percent. Receiving the least responsibility was Hartman Equine Reproduction Center, who received 10 percent of the responsibility.
The jury was given questions of guilt, with all six parties being found guilty of “Negligence incurring damage.” The Dufurrena’s were found guilty of committing fraud. All other questions regarding Hartman’s guilt were answered by “No.”
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Compensatory damages included: 1) The difference in the value of Otto now and what it would have been if not HERDA affected: $30,000; 2) Reasonable expenses related to foaling, raising boarding and training Otto in the past: $28,408; 3) Reasonable vet expenses: $0; 4) Reasonable expenses incurred for caring for Otto in the future, $75,000 and Plaintiffs’ lost profits: $30,000 – for a total of $163,408.
At press time it was not available if “who’s responsible?” has any relation to the compensatory damages.
Represented by Aaron J. Burke and Nathan Pearman of Hardline Ducus Barger Drey LLP, Dallas, Texas, the Minshall’s lawyer was asking for $30,000 for the value of Otto, a high of $28,408 for training and boarding, $233,000 in expenses for training, boarding in the future, plus $3 million in Punitive damages and $165,000 in mental anguish, for a total of close to $3.5 million.
David Hartman, the principal of HERC, was represented by Jeffrey W. Ryan and Caleena D. Svalek of the law firm of Chamblee, Ryan, Kershaw & Anderson, P.C., also of Dallas. William Chamblee was originally scheduled to be Hartman’s lawyer; however, the last minute it was discovered he would be involved in another court case in Dallas and Jeffrey Ryan took over. The firm usually does trial cases for medical cases.
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MINSHALL V HARTMAN TRIAL BACK ON FOR FEB. 27
By Glory Ann Kurtz
Feb. 21, 2017
The Shawn Minshall v Hartman (HERC) trial is back on. An order by United States District of Texas Judge Amos L. Mazzant, dated today, Feb. 21, says that the Defendant Hartman Equine Reproduction Center, P.A.’s Emergency Motion for Continuance of Trial Setting and Defendant Hartman Equine Reproduction Center, P.A.’s Unopposed Emergency Motion for continuance of the Trial Setting are hereby DENIED. Therefore the trial will go as as previously scheduled on Feb. 27, 2017 at the Eastern District Of Texas, Sherman Division.
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MINSHALL V HARTMAN TRIAL GRANTED EMERGENCY MOTION TO CONTINUE TRIAL AT LATER DATE
By Glory Ann Kurtz
Feb. 19, 2017
An order dated Feb. 17, 2017 by the United States Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division, granted the continuance of the Shawn Minshall vs Hartman Equine Reproduction Center case to an undetermined later date following an emergency motion by Hartman’s lead lawyer William H. Chamblee.
Court documents disclosed that Chamblee was unexpectedly in trial in a medical malpractice case in Dallas County, Texas.
The document, signed by Chamblee said, “Because it is imperative that Defendant have his lead counsel of his choosing defend this case at trial and the current trial length was unforeseeable, Defendant emergently requests a continuance of the current trial setting .
Click link for Emergency Motion>>
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HERDA LAWSUIT TRIAL SCHEDULED FOR FEB. 27 IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT IN SHERMAN, TEXAS
MINSHALLS ACCUSE DAVID HARTMAN DVM OF SEVEN VIOLATIONS, INCLUDING FRAUD BY NON-DISCLOSURE
By Glory Ann Kurtz
Feb. 15, 2017
New information on trial date and HERDA Feb. 20, 2017
A court date of Feb. 27, 2017 has been set for trial regarding a lawsuit originally filed on Oct. 30, 2015 by Shawn, Victoria and Lauren Minshall against Edward Dufurrena, Edward Dufurrena Cutting Horses, Anthony and Dufurrena Inc., Gainesville, Texas; Hartman Equine Reproduction Center and Dos Cats Partners. A jury trial will begin at 10 a.m., Monday, Feb. 27 at the Paul Brown United States Courthouse, 101 E. Pecan Street, Room 208, Sherman, Texas 75090.
Hartman Jury trial 2-27-17
NOTE: An order dated Feb. 17, 2017 by the United States Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division, granted the continuance of this trial to an undetermined later date following an emergency motion of Hartman’s lead lawyer, William H. Chamblee, who was unexpectedly in trial in a medical malpractice case in Dallas County, Texas.
Shawn and Lisa Victoria Minshall, Hillsburgh, Ontario, Canada, and Lauren Victoria Minshall, Pine Grove, Ky., originally filed the lawsuit against the above-mentioned defendants, alleging the Plaintiffs suffered specific damages arising from the fact that they had bred their mare to Auspicious Cat, a stallion owned by the defendants, and the mare produced a foal that suffered from HERDA. The filings continued saying the defendants specifically misrepresented the HERDA designation on Auspicious Cat in an advertisement prior to the breeding, stating that Auspicious Cat was HERDA negative or HERDA N/N.
Over time, Dufurrena’s wife, Shona, was added to the lawsuit, after which she settled, as did all of the defendants except David Hartman of Equine Reproduction Center (HERC). Hartman was standing Auspicious Cat at his facility, a stallion station and veterinarian practice operated by him at the time the Plaintiffs bred their mare, Miss Tasa Lena, to Auspicious Cat. HERC facilitated the breeding by collecting, freezing and shipping Auspicious Cat’s semen to the Plaintiffs from HERC’s stallion station and charged the Plaintiffs a “chute fee.”
NATURE OF PLAINTIFF’S ACTION:
The plaintiffs are currently bringing action against HERC for 1) violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, 2) negligent misrepresentation and negligence, 3) fraud by nondisclosure, 4)fraud, 5) joint enterprise, 6) civil conspiracy and 7) aiding and abetting. The result of this breeding was a HERDA-affected (HRD/HRD) foal named Dr. Ozz, which was discovered through testing on May 1, 2015.
Due to the nature of the disease, the Plaintiffs claim they have incurred damages and subsequently filed suit against HERC. The Plaintiffs contend that HERC intended to assist or participate in the fraudulent scheme with the Dufurrenas to intentionally misrepresent Auspicious Cat’s HERDA status to attract more customers who would otherwise avoid breeding their mares to a HERDA-carrier stallion.
Click for Pretrial Order>>
In his response, Dr. Hartman stated the Dufurrenas were clients of Hartman, not partners, and they simply paid for the service of collecting semen from Aspicious Cat and shipping it to whomever the Dufurrena defendants sold that semen to. He says there is no rule, statute, regulation or standard of care of any kind supporting the Plaintiffs’ position that Hartman Equine must require or encourage stallion owners to test their stallions for HERDA, much less disclose that information without the consent of the stallion owner.
He continued, “The Dufurrenas, as the owners of their property, always had sole control over what happened to its property, as is evidenced by the removal of their stallion from Hartman Equine and placing him at another facility. Stallion stations across the nation advertise other people’s stallions standing at its facility with owner consent to do so. To hold every single client-stallion station/veterinary relationship as a joint venture and liable for one another’s conduct would destroy the equine industry.” Continuing his argument, Hartman said that the Plaintiffs acknowledge that Hartman Equine never made any representations to Plaintiffs about the HERDA status of the stallion they chose to breed with.
He said, “Instead of taking responsibility for not adequately researching Auspicious Cat’s genetic status and relying solely on the word of the Dufurrenas, they now want to place blame on Hartman Equine for seeking a “profit.”
He claimed that the Dufurrenas lied to him about the genetic status of their horse in much the same way they did to the Plaintiffs and that the only one responsible for disclosing any information about a stallion is the stallion’s owner. Hartman said in his response that the Plaintiffs’ claims center around whether Hartman Equine must require genetic testing of all stallions it collects and disclose that information to the public. He continued that that duty does not exist and is not supported by any industry standard.
Click for Hartman response >>
WHO IS SHAWN MINSHALL?
Minshall is said in previous published articles to be the owner of a top-class Thoroughbred racing operation, which is ranked and held out as one of the top Canadian breeding and training operations for cutting horses.
WHAT IS HERDA?
HERDA is a genetic skin disease that surfaces usually in the second year after an afflicted horse begins training and results in large painful lesions over large areas of the horse’s body, as well as hyperextensible skin scarring. There is no cure and the majority of diagnosed horses have to be euthanized. HERDA has an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance, which means it could pop up in future generations. It is critical for stallions or mares that are HERDA carriers to select matings to horses that are N/N (lacking the HERDA mutation). Not using this approach and crossing a carrier to another carrier will produce HERDA-affected foals 25 percent of the time on average. It was brought up in Hartman’s response that the Minshall’s mare was a HERDA carrier.
LIFETIME MEMBER OF NRHA SUES FOR REVOKING HIS LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP
KIT COSPER CLAIMS NRHA HAS NOT GIVEN HIM A REASON WHY HIS MEMBERSHIP WAS REVOKED
By Glory Ann Kurtz
Oct. 30, 2016
On Oct. 17, 2016, James Kitchen (Kit) Cosper, Brunswick County, N.C., filed a lawsut against the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) for revoking his lifetime membership.
According to the six-page lawsuit filed in District Court of Oklahoma County, State of Oklahoma, demanding a jury trial.
ABOUT KIT COSPER:
Cosper, the son of Monica Watson of Double Run Farm, who breed the famous reining sire Wimpys Little Step, has been a life member of the NRHA since 1999, has served the NRHA in several different significant capacities, including but not limited to: (a) member of the NRHA’s Executive Committee, (b) Vice President of the Reining Horse Sports Foundation and (c) a member of the NRHA Bylaw committee.
ABOUT WIMPYS LITTLE STEP:
Wimpys Little Step, a 1999 palomino Quarter Horse Stallion, bred by Hilldale Farm, was shown by Shawn Flarida only three times and placed second in The Tradition Futurity, held in Lexington, Va., first in the Futurity at the All American Quarter Horse Congress, Columbus, Ohio, and in December 2002 won the NRHA Futurity Champion in Oklahoma City, scoring a 223. He is also in the NRHA Hall of Fame and has lifetime earnings of $185,757. Also in 2008 he became the youngest $8 million sire.
According to a Nov. 17, 2010 article in Quarter Horse News, “A major and controlling share of Wimpys Little Step, owned by Mark Schols, Ocala, Fla., sold to Xtra Quarter Horses LLC., owned in partnership by Thiago Boechat and Lorenzo Vargas, Purcell, Okla./Cancun, Mexico.
Cosper claims he received a letter dated May 25, 2016 from Terry Weins, the General Counsel for the NRHA stating that his membership had been revoked at the discretion of the Executive Committee pursuant to Article 2, Section 1 of the NRHA Bylaws.
According to the lawsuit, the letter did not state any reasons or allege any misconduct as the basis for his membership revocation. Cosper asked Mr. Weins for the reasoning for the actions of the Executive Committee; however, Mr. Weins has refused or failed to provide the answer to that question.
Cosper claims the revocation of his membership and involvement with the NRHA has had a negative and harmful impact on Mr. Cosper’s reputation,and his ongoing and future business interests in the reining horse industry. According to sources, Cosper has been vocal about the governance changes within the NRHA and hosts a forum called “Take NRHA Back.”
Cosper claims that by revoking his membership, the NRHA has failed to comply with its own Disciplinary Procedures as laid out in Section D of the NRHA’s 2012 General Rules and Regulations. Article II of the NRHA bylaws say, “members are to be admitted and retained in accordance with the rules and regulations of the NRHA.”
The suit claimed the NRAHA failed to comply with Section 1 of the Rules and Regulations related to disciplinary procedure, as it says “membership can be revoked or suspended for good cause.” Section 4 and 5 of the Rules and Regulations exempts the Executive Committee’s action against Cosper from the requirements of Section D (disciplinary Procedures) of the General Rules and Regulations. Likewise nothing within Section D exempts the Executive Committee’s action against Mr. Cosper from the Section’s coverage.
Cosper is petitioning the court to enter a declaratory judgment addressing the NRHA’s conduct and to determine and declare that his membership was revoked by the Executive Committee without good cause as the revocation of his membership was not in compliance with the 2016 NRHA handbook: Bylaws, Rules and Regulations; Judges’ Guide and that the his membership be reinstated in full. No financial relief is requested.
Cosper is represented by his lawyer Kevin R. Donelson of Fellers, Snider, Blankenship, Bailey & Tippens, P.C. of Oklahoma City, Okla.
Click for copy of Cosper v NRHA lawsuit>
TWO LAWSUITS SETTLED REGARDING LAST YEAR’S THE AMERICAN RODEO PAYOUT
By Glory Ann Kurtz
Oct. 19, 2016
According to an Oct. 19, 2016 article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram, two lawsuits over allegations that star calf ropers rigged during the 2015 The American Rodeo held in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, were dismissed this week with undisclosed settlements.
The dispute stemmed from the 2015 one-day event sponsored by RFD-TV, with the event offering prizes of $100,000 to winners of seven different rodeo competitions and featured a $1 million reward for cowboys who qualified for seven different events rather than those who were invited.
The Reese Riemer lawsuit:
On Feb. 23, 2015, Reese Riemer, a tie-down roper from Stinnett, Texas, filed a lawsuit against RFD-TV in the Northern District of Texas Amarillo Division for failing to pay his winnings from the roping event held during the 2015 American Rodeo competition. The event had advertised that the winner of each event would be awarded $100,000 each, plus nearly $50,000 in prizes. Additionally if a qualifier won the event, against the invited contestants, who were the “best in the world,” he would be entitled to a share of a $1 million side pot.
It turned out that Riemer and Taylor Price, the first-place winner of the bareback riding competition, were both qualifiers who won their event and were eligible for a share of the $1 million side pot.
On March 3, 2015, K.C. Jones, a qualifier who tied with an invitational contestant in the steer-wrestling event, challenged The American rules regarding tie breakers. Randy Bernard, the CEO of RFD-TV, told Reese that RFD-TV agreed to pay K.C. Jones a share of the side pot and that $83,000 would be deducted from his winnings and from Taylor’s winnings. In a broadcast, Bernard claimed that he and Riemer agreed to allow K.C. Jones to take a piece of Riemer’s winnings; however, Riemer claims no such conversation took place. On March 4, 2015, Riemer was issued a check from RMG Events LLC for $517,000, reflecting the $83,000 deduction that RFD-TV awarded to K. C. Jones. The champion saddle was received by Riemer and a Polaris Ranger ATV was delivered to the Riemer Ranch.
The RFD-TV lawsuit:
Then on March 5, Patrick Gottsch, owner and founder of RFD-TV called Riemer and questioned Riemer about “rumors that the qualifiers in the tie-down roping competition had made a deal to split the bonus pool regardless of the outcome.” Riemer assured Gottsch no deal had been made; however, he was informed that a stop payment had been put on his check for $517,000 due to the rumors. According to the lawsuit, “Gottsch threatened Reese with prison time and told him to obtain a lawyer.”
The lawsuit by Riemer also claimed RFD-TV capitalized on Riemer’s name and likeness in the news media, including building up goodwill to promote the 2016 The American event, as well as a Breach of Contract seeking out-of-pocket damages and a judgment against the defendants in the amount of $600,000 plus attorney fees, pre-judgment interest at the maximum non-usurious rate, all taxable court costs, other relief justly entitled and demands a trial by jury.
In August, 2016, RFD-TV filed a lawsuit in Tarrant County Civil Court against Riemer (currently seventh in the PRCA standings; Timber Moore, at the time the top PRCA calf roper (currently he ranks second) and Tuf Cooper, a three-time PRCA world champion (currently a member of the Elite Rodeo Association and not the PRCA), outlining allegations of a “fix” at the 2015 rodeo with Riemer splitting his winnings with Cooper and Moore, if they would allow Riemer to win the roping finals. Riemer ended up winning, with Cooper finishing second and Moore finishing third.
According to the lawsuit the rodeo learned of the scheme devised by Riemer, Cooper and Moore and stopped payment on Riemer’s $517,000 check.
According to the Fort Worth Star Telegram article, additional court records were made available this month showing how the controversy started, including details on a contentious spat between Tuf Cooper, and Cole Bailey, a part-time cowboy who sells cars at his family business in Oklahoma. In an affidavit, Bailey accused Cooper of asking him to participate in the alleged scheme. However, Cooper had not returned requests from the Fort Worth Star Telegram for a comment.
“It was unclear how the lawsuits were resolved this week as Rick Hagen, the attorney for Moore, would only release this comment: “The parties have resolved this dispute to each party’s satisfaction.” Attorneys for RFD-TV and Riemer could not be reached. Cooper did not hire an attorney.
On Aug. 22, 2016, RFD-TV founder and owner Patrick Gottsch and Sean Gleason, CEO of the PBR, announced a long-term, three-year plan for The American Rodeo event, which will return to Arlington Stadium in Arlington on Feb. 19, 2017. The agreement with the PBR and the Dallas Cowboys stadium ensures the future of the world’s richest one-day rodeo event. Prior to the Finals, the semifinals will be held Feb. 15-17 at the Stockyards in Fort Worth and will include a purse of almost $500,000. The three events will continue to make history with a record-breaking payout totaling around $3 million and offers athletes a chance to make the kind of winnings they don’t often see in other professional rodeo and bull-riding competitions.
Click for Rodeo Scandal article>>
click for original ST article on Riemer lawsuit>>
Click for original lawsuit by Riemer>>
Click for article on RFD-TV>>
Click for article on the 2017 The American>>