It concerns a long-lasting dispute between a Saudi owner (‘client’) of several valuable jumping horses which were moved by a rider from England to the Netherlands without his knowing or consent in 2014. The rider kept the horses hidden and threatened to sell them in case an alleged claim on the father of the client was not settled. The rider argued to be (co-)owner of the horses and to have a lien on the horses as well.
The client successfully seized the horses in the Netherlands and had these handed over to a professional caretaker awaiting the outcome of judicial proceedings.
One of the five seized horses appeared to be lame. The rider held the client liable for this lameness and claimed in this respect damages for an amount of EUR 400.000,-. To secure this alleged claim the rider also seized the horses.
The court of appeal judged that the client is the owner of four horses. The fifth (lame) horse does belong to the rider. The rider does not have a lien on the horses based on his alleged claim on the father of the client. The court of appeal further judged that the rider unlawfully appropriated the horses and has to settle the damages the client suffered as a result thereof. The court of appeal lifted the seizures of the rider.
Regarding the fifth (lame) horse the rider had to prove (i.) that the injury was caused after and as a result of the seizure and caretaking, and (ii.) that the horse had a value of € 400.000,- that was lost due to the injury. After extensive witness hearings the court of appeal judged that the rider did not succeed in delivering this proof and declined his claim of € 400.000,-.
The decision of the court of appeal is published on Rechtspraak.nl: ECLI:NL:GHARL:2020:5234
The client was represented by Luc Schelstraete and Vincent Zitman.