Hagyard Settles Lawsuit With Veterinarians Over Contract Dispute

by | 10.22.2019 | 4:41pm

More than two years after it began, the civil suit between Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Ky., and three of its former veterinarians has been settled. Terms of the settlement were confidential.

“Hagyard is pleased to move on and looks forward to continuing to provide quality service to its clients and their horses,” said Keith Moorman, one of the attorneys representing the hospital.

Plaintiffs Drs. Rocky Mason, Patrick Ford and Christopher Smith did not provide comment, but attorney Mason Miller stated, “I am pleased to have reached an amicable resolution of this matter.”

The plaintiffs had claimed the hospital failed to uphold its end of an agreement for the veterinarians to purchase shares in the hospital and its associated pharmacy. They also brought suit against Las Vegas-based Mixed Animal Veterinary Associates of North America (MAVANA), claiming that a merger between MAVANA and Hagyard was part of the hospital's resistance in going through with the partnership deal and creating more owners to split proceeds of the merger.

Hagyard and MAVANA denied the veterinarians' assertions.

In the course of the proceedings, the plaintiffs revealed concerns about the practice of misdating radiographs for horses entering public auction in Kentucky. According to testimony in pre-trial hearings and other proceedings, the veterinarians had forwarded dated radiographs to make them appear as though they were taken in the appropriate timeframe ahead of horses' auction date when in fact they were taken earlier. Several Hagyard veterinarians self-reported to the Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners for altering dates. The Board investigated and later settled with eight veterinarians, ordering them to make “administrative payments” from $1,000 to $25,000 to offset costs of the investigations.

Earlier this year, Fayette Circuit Court Judge John Reynolds entered an order for partial summary judgement in favor or the veterinarians suing the hospital.

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