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Vet looks to Lords after losing appeal

A British vet held partly responsible by a judge for the death of a successful dressage horse last week suffered defeat in an Appeal Court bid to overturn the ruling.

Philip Glyn argued it was “grossly unfair” that he had been found in any way to blame for the death of former French national champion Annastasia from laminitis in July 2001.

He has sought leave to appeal to the House of Lords.

Last Friday, two judges to one in London’s Appeal Court dismissed Mr Glyn’s challenge to last year’s High Court ruling that he was 15% liable for the horse’s death.

The mare, owned by Buckinghamshire solicitor Jane McGarel-Groves, fell ill as a side effect of being injected with corticosteroids by French vet Erik Grandiere.

Mr Justice Forbes found Mr Grandiere 85% responsible for Annastasia’s death and awarded her owner £350,000.

Mr Glyn, of Priors Farm Equine Veterinary Surgery, East Sussex, was present when Annastasia was injected. Under the legal principle of “joint and several liability”, he had to pay the £350,000 and was left with the task of trying to enforce an 85% “contribution” from Mr Grandiere.

In the Appeal Court, Lord Justice Gage said Mr Justice Forbes was entitled to rule that Mr Glyn did not just owe a duty to “observe” the treatment by the French vet.

Lord Justice Gage said Mr Glyn was under “a duty to satisfy himself that he knew precisely what treatment was to be carried out by Mr Grandiere so as to ensure that nothing remotely inappropriate occurred”.

He added: “I would also hold that he owed a duty of care to discuss the treatment with Mr Grandiere.”

Lord Justice Rix agreed the appeal should be dismissed.

But Lord Justice Ward said he was “unable to agree” that Mr Glyn was guilty of professional negligence.

He said the vet was present during treatment as a “mere observer” and was under no duty to “supervise” or “monitor” the French vet.

Andrew Edis QC, for Mr Glyn, earlier argued his client was blameless: he was not instructed to supervise the French vet, nor did he owe any duty to do so.

  • This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (20 July, ’06)
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