Ramsey v. Lambert
2008-CA-000862 8/7/09 2009 WL 2408413
Opinion by Judge Lambert; Judge Acree and Senior Judge Harris concurred.
The Court affirmed a jury verdict awarding fees to appellees under an oral contract to provide services advising of potential thoroughbred horse racing prospects. The Court reversed a judgment in favor of the horse owner awarding reimbursement of veterinary fees based on a finding that appellee was not a licensed veterinarian in the State of Kentucky. The Court first held that the trial court erred in concluding that the heart scanning performed by appellee in order to identify racing prospects constituted the practice of veterinary medicine under Kentucky law. The heart scans were in no way utilized to diagnose or treat any of the horses, nor did anyone rely on such diagnosis or results thereof for treatment. Therefore, appellee did not practice veterinary medicine under the terms of KRS 321.181(5)(a). The Court further held that the trial court erred in finding that appellee was engaged in the unlawful practice of veterinary medicine in the State of Florida because Florida law required the prescribing, dispensing or administering drugs, none of which appellee did. The Court rejected appellants’ argument that the contract was illegal because the argument was moot based on the holding that heart scanning was not the unlicensed practice of veterinary medicine and even so, the heart scans were not the object and purpose of the contract but rather the identification of racing prospects. Thus, the Court held that the trial court made no error in submitting the contract claims to the jury. The Court finally held that 1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding documents under KRE 401, which did not in any way pertain to the oral agreement and thus, were irrelevant; 2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ruling that appellee did not open the door for admission of the documents; 3) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the jury to hear how much money appellant made from owning the horse in question, as this was directly relevant to bonuses due under the parties’ contract; 4) that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in failing to admonish the jury regarding closing argument which merely urged the jury to decide the case fairly; and 5) that the trial court did not err in holding that the discovery rule was inapplicable to a cause of action involving a violation of KRS 321.190.