Southall v. Gabel

33 Ohio Misc. 194, 293 N.E.2d 891 (1972)

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Southall v. Gabel

Ohio Municipal Court
33 Ohio Misc. 194, 293 N.E.2d 891 (1972)

Facts

Southall (plaintiff) owned a three-year-old racehorse named Pribal. The horse ran in 11 races in the year 1967 and received cash winnings seven of those times. In late 1967, Southall brought Pribal to Dr. Gabel (defendant) for veterinary care. Dr. Gabel determined that Pribal sustained a bone chip fracture, which was surgically removed from the horse’s leg. Post-surgery, Dr. Gabel’s staff loaded Pribal to return home, but he was mistakenly delivered to another address. Dr. Gabel, upon discovering the mistake, offered to personally load Pribal and bring him to Southall. Dr. Gabel did not tranquilize nor provide leg protection to Pribal for the transport, which was a frequent practice used by horse handlers. During the drive, Pribal became agitated and was jumping around the trailer, which left him with abrasions on his hip. Due to the horse being in distress, Dr. Gabel returned him to the location he was mistakenly sent. Pribal was eventually returned to Southall, but his demeanor had drastically changed, and he was prone to biting. Pribal subsequently resumed racing and ran in 16 races over the next two years. However, Pribal never again placed. Additionally, Pribal’s trainer noted that the animal had become the most temperamental horse with which he had ever dealt. Eventually, Southall had to put Pribal down due to the behavioral issues. Southall then filed a negligence action against Dr. Gabel, alleging that the mishandling of Pribal in transport and the injuries therefrom caused the horse’s behavioral issues. The case went to trial, and at the conclusion of Southall’s case-in-chief, Dr. Gabel moved to dismiss.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (West, J.)

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