Val's Prince Redux: Another Appeal Possible
Updated: Wednesday, June 6, 2001 8:21 AM
Posted: Tuesday, June 5, 2001 8:44 AM
Legal wrangling continues over 1999 Turf Classic winner Val's Prince.
On the basis of what he called "bad faith games playing with the court," Broward County, Fla., Circuit Court Judge Charles Greene ruled to strike the pleadings of defendant Steve Weiner in the Val's Prince lawsuit.
The legal action, which has continued for more than a year, was brought by Weiner's former fiancée, Robin Martin, concerning the ownership of the 9-year-old gelding. Martin has been granted a default judgment.
"Defendant Weiner's continual misconduct and fraudulent responses...precludes him from the right to defend himself in this action," Greene wrote in the May 31 order. Weiner had shown "willful, contumacious failure to comply with the discovery process," Greene said.
Martin's suit asked the court to overturn an agreement she signed with Weiner in 1997 that ceded half of the horse's ownership to him upon their split. She claimed the agreement was coerced.
In November 2000, Judge Patricia Englander Henning ruled in favor of Martin, but six months later, the judge rescinded that ruling and recused herself from the case on the basis of an invalid foal certificate that was placed into evidence. At that time, the judge wrote: "The testimony presented totally lacked credibility."
As a result of Greene's ruling, plaintiff attorney Brad Beilly has filed a motion for a final judgment against Weiner for nearly $700,000 in net purses he has collected since the division of ownership.
"While we would have preferred a decision on the merits of the case, Robin and I are pleased it is finally over," Beilly said.
But Weiner, who acted as his own attorney in the pleadings in front of Greene, indicated the action might not be over. He plans to appeal the ruling.
"There was nothing I did so outrageous that the merits of this case should not be heard," Weiner said. "The judges simply do not want to get involved in the facts."
Meanwhile, Val's Prince, a multiple grade I winner and earner of more than $2 million, continues to train toward a return to racing in late summer.
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