ADDITIONAL LEGAL ACTION TAKEN AGAINST HARTMAN
MINSHALLS FILE FOR DAMAGES IN HERDA CASE
By Glory Ann Kurtz
April 11, 2017
Last month, a seven-day trial was held in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, in Sherman, Texas, to determine who was guilty for a HERDA positive foal, sired by Auspicious Cat, that was born to Shawn, Lisa and Lauren Minshall’s mare. The eight-member jury’s determined that Edward and Shona Dufurrena, Gainesville, Texas, who headed up the Dos Cats Partners that owned Auspicious Cat, were 60 percent responsible for their foal being born with full-blown HERDA, the Minshalls were 30 percent responsible and David Hartman, DVM’s Hartman Equine Reproduction Center, P.A., the veterinarian that collected the semen and shipped it to the Minshalls, was 10 percent responsible.
However, since the Minshalls had already sued Hartman but damages were not a part of the lawsuit, they have taken additional legal action against Hartman in a “Plaintiffs’ Motion For Miscellaneous Relief,” filed March 30, 2017.
The judge’s responses on following documents have not been signed by the judge and are; therefore, not in force.
Since Hartman was only found guilty of “negligence, the suit calls for $30,000 for the difference in value Otto (the offspring with HERDA) would have had if he had not been HERDA-affected, $28,408 for the reasonable and necessary expenses related to foaling, raising, boarding and training Otto in the past, $75,000 for the reasonable and necessary expenses, in reasonable probability, the Plaintiffs will incur related to caring for Otto in the future and $30,000 for lost profits, for a total of $163,408.
Click for Plaintiffs Motion for entry of Judgment>>
JUDGE’S UNSIGNED FINAL JUDGMENT:
In a Final Judgment, Judge Amos L. Mazzant II, ordered but did not sign: 1) a sum of 10% of the jury’s verdict of $163,408, totaling $16,340.80; Reasonable and necessary attorneys’ fees of $203,535; 3) costs of action, taxed at an amount to be determined by the Court after Plaintiffs submit an appropriate bill of costs; 4) Prejudgment interest of 1.02% simple interest per annum on total sum awarded beginning on Oct. 30, 2015 and ending on the date this judgment is signed and 5) Post-judgment interest on the total sum awarded from the date this judgment is signed until paid at a rate of 1.02% simple interest per annum.
Click for unsigned Final Judgment>>
Hartman immediately responded the following day (March 31, 2017), stating that the Judgment is inconsistent with the Court’s instructions to the jury and is incorrect as a matter of law. It stated that Plaintiffs should only be allowed to recover 10 percent of the recoverable damages for negligence only and should not be allowed to recover attorney’s fees.
The document continues that since Hartman was only found liable for negligence and its responsibility was limited to 10 percent, his maximum liability would be $3,000. The Plaintiffs’ proposed judgment, seeking compensation for all compensatory damages, is not consistent with the Court’s instructions for a finding of negligence.
Plus the Plaintiffs’ proposed judgment also seeks an award of attorney’s fees which, according to Hartman’s attorney, are not recoverable as a matter of law. Also the document says that the Plaintiffs prevailed only on a negligence claim and did not plead to recover attorney’s fees under a negligence cause of action theory. Also Chapter 38 of the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code only authorizes a recovery of attorney’s from an individual or a corporation while the Defendant is neither. There were also several other reasons pointed out in the document why the Plaintiffs could not recover attorney fees.
Click for Hartman’s response>>
JUDGE’S UNSIGNED ORDER:
The judge then posted an unsigned order that Hartman Equine Reproduction Center, P.A.’s objects to the Plaintiffs’ Proposed Final Judgment are SUSTAINED, saying HERC is only responsible for the damages recoverable for a finding of negligence and is not responsible for Attorneys’ Fees to the Plaintiff.
Click for judge’s unsigned order>>
PLAINTIFFS’ RESPONSE TO DEFENDANT’S OBJECTIONS:
On April 4, 2017, the Plaintiffs filed a response to the Defendant’s objections to Plaintiffs’ Proposed Final Judgment, asking it to be overruled for a litany of reasons, requesting that the Court sign their proposed Final Judgment and for such other relief in law or equity that they may show themselves justly entitled.
Plaintiff response to Defendant objections>>
PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEY’S FEES FILED:
Also, on March 30, 2017, an affidavit of the attorneys’ fees and support thereof , totaling $203,535.00 were filed with the court.
Affidavit of attorney’s fees>>
Stay tuned for the next chapter of this case.