Val's Prince Redux: Judge Hears More Testimony

Months after ruling on behalf of the plaintiff in Robin Martin's lawsuit against former fiancée Steve Weiner seeking to grant her full ownership of gelding Val's Prince, Broward County (Fla.) judge Patricia Englander Henning heard arguments Friday to vacate her order based upon an outdated foal certificate being placed in evidence.

On Nov. 15, 2000, Henning ruled that, unable to rely on the veracity of the bulk of the testimony in the case, she would grant ownership of Val's Prince to Martin since she was the owner of record as indicated on the Jockey Club's foal certificate. In the rehearing, Weiner's attorney Doc Blanchard contended that Henning had ruled on a foal certificate that failed to represent a transfer of 50% ownership to Weiner in March 1997.

"What the plaintiff introduced into evidence \ was not the foal certificate as of the date of the trial," Blanchard said in support of his motion for a new trial, "As soon as I found it was important to the ruling and it was wrong I brought it to the court's attention."

Again expressing his opinion that the matter is a simple dissolution of property issue, he said, "This is turning into the War of the Roses."

Brad Beilly, counsel for Martin, replied that it was contrary to the rules of evidence to introduce a new document, and questioned the validity of the March 1997 entry due to Weiner having had access to the foal certificate at that time. "Besides, if we started all over there would be a taint on the case since (Henning) has already ruled that the testimony is not credible," he said.

Henning indicated that she would review a transcript of the original trial before ruling on the motion, but expressed some doubt about her jurisdiction in the matter since Dale Smallwood, owner of Val's Prince until his 1995 sale to Martin and Weiner, has filed suit in the Fourth District Court of Appeals also claiming ownership of Val's Prince. Smallwood's attorney Rhonda Chambers participated in the hearing via telephone conference.