Plaintiff gives away a horse that becomes a champion, then wants it back. Defense. Los Angeles County.
A case of horse sense? Plaintiff gave away a barrel horse that she couldn't care for. A professional barrel horse rider later bought it and the horse became a champion. Plaintiff then wanted her horse back or payment for the horse. Defense.
- Case Name: Tammy Lowe v. John Growney, David Murdoch and Christy Colgate
- Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC466901
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, May 13, 2013
- Date Action was Filed: Monday, August 08, 2011
- Type of Action: Breach of Contract
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Mary Ann Murphy
Plaintiffs: Tammy Lowe
Defendants: John Growney, David Murdoch and Christy Colgate
- Type of Result: Bench Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: Defense Verdict
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 4 days
Attorney for the Plaintiff: Laura Akers, Esq., Rancho Santa Fe
Attorney for the Defendant: Madrid Law Firm, PLC by Eduardo M. Madrid and Erica L. Madrid, Chino
Plaintiff's Technical Experts: Lance Graves, Equine Expert, Hartshorne, Oklahoma
Defendant's Technical Experts: Sharon Camarillo, Equine Expert, Lockeford
Facts and Background
Facts and Background:
Plaintiff gave a rodeo barrel horse to defendant Growney, a stock contractor, because the horse had a propensity to buck and was deemed dangerous. Defendant Growney gave the horse away to defendant Murdoch who sold the horse to defendant Colgate, a professional rodeo barrel racer.
When plaintiff saw defendant Colgate competing and winning on the horse, she filed suit to get the horse back. In the interim, plaintiff posted on Facebook that 3 defendants had "hijacked" & "embezzled" her horse.
That she entered into a second of two “lease for feed” agreements with Defendant Growney, whereby Growney was to use the horse and maintain it for a period of time.That she had previously entered into a similar agreement with Growney, who had returned another horse to her at the expiration of the agreement. That she entered into the second agreement because she had suffered several personal tragedies that prevented her from caring adequately for the horse, and she thought Growney would take good care of it.
Plaintiff's expert testified that the value of the horse was between $80,000.00 and $120,000.
Plaintiff always retained registration papers showing ownership to the horse.
Defendant Growney contended horse had been given to him to find a new home for it because of its propensity to buck. Defendant Growney gave it away to one of his cowboys, defendant David Murdoch.
Defendant David Murdoch sold the horse for $5,000 to his then-girl friend and professional barrel racer, Chirsty Colgate. Defendant Christy Colgate contended that she was a bona fide purchaser. She bought the horse from defendant Murdoch who she believed had a right to sell the horse to her.
Injuries and Other Damages
Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
Plaintiff claimed that she lost the value of her horse. Plaintiff claimed that the horse was worth $120,000 and with interest and loss of income, she was claimed damages of $170,000.
Demands and Offers
- Plaintiff §998 Demand: $160,000 (per defense counsel). Per plaintiff's counsel: $20,000 to Defendant Colgate; $10,000 to Defendant Murdoch; $45,000 to Defendant Growney.
- Defendant §998 Offer: Mutual dismissals with each side to bear their own attorneys’ fees and costs.
Defendant Colgate filed a Cross-Complaint for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. However, before final argument, defendant/cross-complainant Colgate told her counsel not to ask for monetary damages and she wanted nothing from the plaintiff.
Defense counsel nevertheless asked for $1.00 in damages, which was awarded by the Court. The Court found in favor of defendant/cross-complainant against the plaintiff.