☛ Herda status of Auspicious Cat goes on trial 3-11-17
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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Click for Miss Tassa Lena pedigree>>