Mistrial Declared in Val's Prince Bonus Case

New York Supreme Court Judge Bernard McCaffrey has declared a mistrial in the case of Anthony Caccavale versus James Picou.

The case involved the assertion by Caccavale, a groom for trainer Picou, that he was entitled to a bonus tied to the winnings of Val's Prince in the 1997 Hong Kong International Cup (HK-II) based upon an oral agreement with the trainer. Picou testified that any bonus was subject to his discretion.

The reason for the mistrial was Picou's representation by an attorney -- Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Brad Beilly -- who wasn't licensed to practice in New York. "... it is 'unlawful' to appear as an attorney in this state without having first been duly licensed and admitted," McCaffrey wrote in his Oct. 6 decision.

While Beilly, whose father's law firm is based in New York, contended that his failure to request permission to practice was an inadvertent oversight, McCaffrey concluded that his court lacked the ability to admit Beilly after the fact.

Beilly was the plaintiff's counsel in the Broward County, Fla., suit brought last year by Robin Martin, who sought full control of Val's Prince. She and former fiancée Steve Weiner had signed an agreement in 1997 that gave them equal shares of the horse.

Complaints have been filed against Beilly with the state of New York attorney general's office and the Florida State Bar Association, which has disqualified Beilly from practicing there as of Oct. 12 because of delinquent membership fees.

The ruling in the Caccavale versus Picou litigation has no bearing on the outcome of Martin's lawsuit against Weiner. While initial indications are that Judge Patti Englander Henning has ruled in Martin's favor in this case, no final order has been released.