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☛ HERDA lawsuit trial set for Feb. 27 in Sherman, Tx 2-15-17





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.”



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 >>



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.



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.


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