Schelstraete Equine Law Firm assisted the seller of the horse in the first instance as well as in appeal. Before the horse was bought by the buyer, a veterinary examination was performed on behalf of the buyer: a positive advice was provided. One year after the purchase, the buyer reported to the client that her vet would have found that the horse had undergone neurectomy surgery in the past (which is an operation involving a nerve cut to mask lameness). Her vet would have noticed this with the naked eye.
SEL has successfully argued on behalf of the client that neurectomy surgery cannot be diagnosed by pathological examination alone: for this matter, ultrasound examination is also necessary. Furthermore, the healing time of a neurectomy operation takes 4-6 weeks; so if the operation would have been performed on the horse, it could also have been performed after delivery. On the basis of these arguments, the Court of Appeal in ‘s-Hertogenbosch ruled that the buyer of the horse has insufficiently demonstrated that the horse has undergone a neurectomy operation, let alone prior to delivery to her.
The Court of Appeal in ‘s-Hertogenbosch dismisses the buyer’s claim for one more reason. The Court continues its reasoning by going along with the reasoning of the court of first instance: a neurectomized horse may not participate in FEI competitions, but it is up to the buyer to demonstrate this purpose. Also, on appeal it appeared insufficient that the buyer has bought the horse for the purpose of riding competitions.
Like the judge at first instance, the Court dismissed the claims of the buyer. The buyer was ordered to pay the legal costs of the client in first instance and in the appeal as well.
The seller was assisted by Mr. Luc Schelstraete & Ms. Amanda Brouwers.