Jeff Ryan and Caleena Svatek obtained a favorable defense verdict on behalf of an equine veterinary clinic in the United States Eastern District Court of Texas. Plaintiffs engaged in breeding their mare with a third-party’s stallion that resulted in a foal affected with a genetic skin disease commonly referred to as HERDA. Plaintiffs claimed that the stallion owner lied about the genetic carrier status of the stallion and that the veterinary clinic should have known and disclosed the genetic carrier status as the clinic standing the stallion. Plaintiffs brought suit against the veterinary clinic alleging violations of the DTPA, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, negligence, aiding and abetting, conspiracy, and joint enterprise with the stallion owners. Plaintiff sought compensatory damages in excess of $300,000 and punitive damages of $1.5 million. On behalf of the veterinary clinic, Mr. Ryan and Ms. Svatek argued that no representations were made to the Plaintiffs by the veterinary clinic regarding the stallion’s genetic carrier status. Further, the stallion owner had full control over whether to test the stallion for that genetic disease and whether to disclose the results, information that the veterinary clinic could not disclose without consent. It was not the standard in the industry for the veterinary clinic to require or disclose such genetic testing. After deliberating for several hours, the jury returned a verdict finding the stallion owner’s liable for fraud and 60% negligent, the Plaintiffs 30%, and the veterinary clinic 10% negligent awarding nominal damages.
Attorneys: Jeffrey W. Ryan; Caleena Svatek