A Durham horse dealer has been hit with two private negligence claims. The claims for damages relate to injuries sustained by two women — both based in Wales — who allege they were thrown from horses sold by Philip McAteer, of West View Farm Stables Ltd.

This company has already been successfully prosecuted three times by Trading Standards over trade description offences.

Simon Gibson, a partner and personal injury specialist at Kirwans Solicitors, representing the two private claimants, said one woman suffered a broken wrist and the other a broken leg.

Mr Gibson said both negligence claims had been sent to Mr McAteer, director of the company, since renamed West View Stables and based in Bishop Auckland, Co Durham. He said the claims were presented on the basis of allegations that the horses were sold as seven-year-olds only to be found to be much younger.

“The value of the claims in question have not yet been assessed but will include loss of earnings and substantial medical bills,” he said.

Mr Gibson said the claim on behalf of Lisa Nickson, 25, who suffered a broken wrist, was in the hands of Mr McAteer’s insurer, Oxygen Insurance. A decision was awaited from the insurer on whether they accepted liability.

The second claim, on behalf of Louise Hutchings, 36, who suffered a fractured left tibia, was only recently put to the insurer.

Mr Gibson said the claims would move to the courts if the insurer did not accept liability.
Mark Edmondson, the solicitor representing Mr McAteer, declined to comment in detail on “potentially live cases that are being investigated by insurers”.

Mr Edmondson added: “West View Stables Ltd and Mr McAteer deny any liability at this stage.”

  • This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (12 October, ’06)