In this veterinary malpractice case, Elvin v Gubert, DVM, No. 326563 and 326566, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that the trial court did not err in calculating damages, instructing the jury, or determining sanctions.
FACTS: The defendant-veterinarian, Karl Gubert, DVM, performed a castration on Larry Elvin’s horse, a two-year-old Pennsylvania Standardbred named Abundance Star. Shortly after the procedure, the horse seized-up, stopped breathing and died. The cause of death was inconclusive, but it was noted in the necropsy that the horse had a small and diseased liver.
Elvin sued Gubert, claiming he hurried the procedure, failed to perform a proper physical and failed to properly monitor the horse during the procedure leading to the death of the horse. Gubert claimed he followed the Standard of Care and that it was the diseased liver that caused the death.
At trial, there was testimony regarding horse racing. The experts agreed that horse racing in Michigan was dead, however, Abundance Star, a Pennsylvania Horse, could race in that state where gaming was state sponsored. The possibility of racing was reflected in the plaintiff’s expert appraisal of the horse, which was $100,000. Defendant’s expert originally valued the horse at $6,600, however, when he learned of the liver disease, he adjusted the value to $500.
The jury found Gubert professionally negligent and awarded Elvin $80,000. The trial court denied Gubert’s motion for a new trial (remittitur) and added $118,049 in case evaluation sanctions to the $80,000 award for a total of $198,049 and an additional $107,121 in attorney fees.
The COA rejected Defendant’s arguments as follows:
The trial court opinion was affirmed.