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MARION MAYER Plaintiff, vs. LAUREN SAMMIS, individually, SAMMIS SALES, LLC, et al, Defendants.

Palm Beach County

No. 502014CA001498

COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

Plaintiff, MARION MAYER, (hereinafter “MAYER”) by and through her undersigned
counsel sues the Defendants, LAUREN SAMMIS, individually (hereinafter “SAMMIS”), SAMMIS
SALES, LLC, a Florida corporation, (hereinafter “SAMMIS SALES”), BEN L. SCHACHTER,
DVM, BEN SCHACHTER, DVM, INC, a/k/a WELLINGTON EQUINE ASSOCIATES, D.
SCOTT TRAPHAGEN, DVM, and D. SCOTT TRAPHAGEN, DVM, P.A. , for damages and state
as follows:
GENERAL ALLEGATIONS
1. This is an action for damages in excess of Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000.00) and
is therefore, within the jurisdiction of this Court.
VENUE
2. At all times material, Plaintiff, MARION MAYER, was and is a resident of Port St.
Lucie, St. Lucie County, Florida.
3. Venue is proper in Palm Beach County, Florida as Defendants have significant
contact with this county; pursuant to Florida Statute sections 48.071 and 48.181 have done and are
currently doing business in the State of Florida, specifically Palm Beach County.
4. At all times material to the allegations in this Complaint Defendants have ongoing
and consistent business in Palm Beach County, Florida.
5. Defendant LAUREN SAMMIS owns property in Wellington, Palm Beach County,
Florida. She maintains a Florida driver’s license, registered as a voter in Florida, and has multiple
vehicles titled in Florida.
6. Defendant LAUREN SAMMIS resides in Florida from approximately December
through April each year and further conducts significant business as a horse trainer and agent in the
sales of dressage horses. She conducts a majority of her equine sales business in Wellington, Florida.
7. Defendant, SAMMIS SALES, LLC, is and has been a registered business in the State
of Florida with its principal place of business in Wellington, Florida with its registered agent being
Defendant, LAUREN SAMMIS. SAMMIS SALES, INC, conducts a majority of its equine sales in
Florida.
8. Upon information and belief, with reasonable due diligence, SAMMIS SALES, LLC,
does not appear to be registered to do business in any other State.
9. Defendant, BEN SCHACHTER, DVM, is a Florida licensed Veterinarian who holds
himself out as a large animal specialist and who maintains a veterinary practice in Wellington,
Florida.
10. Defendant, BEN L. SCHACHTER, DVM, INC. a/k/a Wellington Equine Associates,
is a Florida corporation with its principal place of business in Wellington, Palm Beach County,
Florida and said entity employs, Defendant, BEN SCHACHTER, DVM.
11. Wellington Equine Associates is a fictitious name registered to BEN L.
SCHACHTER, DVM, INC., on January 12, 2009. Wellington Equine Associates is the entity that
issued reports and billing to Plaintiff.
12. Defendant, D. SCOTT TRAPHAGEN, DVM, is a Florida licensed veterinarian who
holds himself out as a large animal specialist who maintains a veterinary practice in Wellington,
Palm Beach County, Florida.
13. Defendant, D. SCOTT TRAPHAGEN, DVM, P.A., is a Florida Professional Services
Corporation with its principal place of business in Wellington, Palm Beach County, Florida.
14. DIRK FIECHTER was the presumptive owner of W Double You of 50% interest and
DIRK FIECHTER is a registered property owner in Wellington, Palm Beach County, Florida.
15. DIRK FIECHTER is the owner of European Dressage Connection, Inc., a Florida
corporation.
16. DIEDERIK WIGMANS was the presumptive owner of W Double You of 50%
interest and he is also an officer of European Dressage Connection, Inc.
17. As a result of the acts and omissions of the Defendants, jointly and severally, the
Plaintiff had to engage counsel knowledgeable in equine law and the usual and customary practices
of equine professionals, both sellers of equines and veterinarians who conduct pre-purchase
examinations, and as such, has incurred attorney fees and costs.
AGENCY
18. Defendant, BEN SCHACHTER, DVM, was the agent, servant or employee of
Defendant, BEN L. SCHACHTER, DVM, INC, and was acting within the course and scope of his
employment.
19. Defendant, D. SCOTT TRAPHAGEN, DVM, was the agent, servant or employee of
Defendant, D. SCOTT TRAPHAGEN, DVM, PA, and was acting within the course and scope of
his employment.
20. Defendant, D. SCOTT TRAPHAGEN, DVM, was an agent, servant, apparent agent
or employee of Defendant, BEN L. SCHACHTER, DVM, INC. a/k/a Wellington Equine Associates.
known to be dated May 29,
2013.
34. Plaintiff advised SAMMIS of SAMMIS SALES, LLC, that SCHACHTER, gave the
approval for her try the horse and thus the parties made arrangements for a two day visit to the horse,
which was stabled in New Jersey.
35. Plaintiff met LAUREN SAMMIS in October 2013 and tried the equine over a period
of two days. During those visits, Plaintiff repeatedly asked of SAMMIS whether she was aware of
any ailments or medical conditions suffered by W Double You or whether anything would show up
on a pre-purchase examination to which SAMMIS advised there was nothing to disclose.
36. Plaintiff additionally asked why the equine was for sale and who the owners of the
horse were. LAUREN SAMMIS advised the Plaintiff that she was the owner of the horse, and had
been for about five (5) months, and further noted that she likes to select a few horses each year to
train for resale.
37. At no time, despite numerous questions by Plaintiff, did LAUREN SAMMIS advise
Plaintiff that the equine was actually owned in equal parts by Dirk Fiechter and Diederik Wigmans
and that LAUREN SAMMIS was not the owner.
38. Had LAUREN SAMMIS advised Plaintiff as to who owned the equine, Plaintiff
would have communicated with those individuals about the horse and about any issues that the horse
may have for her consideration.
39. Plaintiff believes that the true owners of the equine ( Dirk Fiechter and Diederik
Wigmans) who would have conveyed their knowledge that the equine had a fragment in his left hind
leg.
40. Dirk Fiechter and Diederik Wigmans had previously advised LAUREN SAMMIS
that the horse had a bone fragment and provided to her a vetting conducted of said equine on May
29, 2013 which she was in possession of before selling the equine to Plaintiff.
41. LAUREN SAMMIS also was aware in her dealings with Plaintiff that Plaintiff’s first
language was German and that Plaintiff struggled with English terminology of equine matters.
42. A pre-purchase examination is a full body veterinary assessment conducted by a
licensed veterinarian to determine whether the equine has any positive pathology in its health
condition that may restrict the equine for the intended dressage show horse purpose. Said
examination traditionally includes x-rays of the equine’s four (4) legs.
43. Plaintiff advised BEN SCHACHTER, DVM, that she liked W Double You and that
she wished to proceed with a pre-purchase examination. Plaintiff advised SCHACHTER that she
would appreciate any suggestions he may have on a professional to do the examination where the
horse was presently stabled (New Jersey).
44. SCHACHTER immediately advised that he would secure a pre-purchase examination
through his Wellington veterinary practice and would advise Plaintiff when the examination would
take place.
45. SCHACHTER selected Defendant, D. SCOTT TRAPHAGEN, DVM, to conduct the
examination to be done October 24, 2013.
46. At no time did SCHACHTER disclose to Plaintiff that Traphagen was not his
employee nor did he hold an active license in New Jersey to allow him to conduct such an important
examination.
47. Defendant, TRAPHAGEN, did not contact Plaintiff to determine the scope of the
examination nor to discuss his findings after the examination was completed, despite the fact that
he should have been working in the best interest of the Plaintiff.
48. Defendant, TRAPHAGEN, did however provide to Defendant, LAUREN SAMMIS
a report
of his clinical findings, despite not having the written consent by Plaintiff to disclose the
information surrounding his examination.
49. Instead, SCHACHTER, instructed TRAPHAGEN, to send his written report and
radiographs to SCHACHTER who would evaluate the same and advise Plaintiff of his findings.
50. SCHACHTER contacted Plaintiff of October 25, 2013 and advised the pre-purchase
demonstrated no concerns and that the equine was sound for its age.
51. SCHACHTER and SCHACHTER, INC, charged Plaintiff approximately $3,500 for
the examination that was conducted.
52. Neither TRAPHAGEN nor SCHACHTER, supplied a written report to Plaintiff about
the examination.
53. In reliance upon the expert examination conducted by TRAPHAGEN and reviewed
by SCHACHTER, Plaintiff decided to purchase the equine (W Double You) for the sum of
$135,000.00.
54. Plaintiff, before buying said equine, again confirmed with LAUREN SAMMIS of
SAMMIS SALES, LLC, that she was the actual owner of the equine being sold to which SAMMIS
confirmed she was and had been for over five (5) months. SAMMIS further advised she would send
a Bill of Sale reflecting that information after the funds cleared the SAMMIS SALES, LLC bank
account.
55. SAMMIS never provided Plaintiff a copy of the Bill of Sale in a proposed fashion
before she demanded the funds be wired.
56. SAMMIS knew full well that most buyers of equines at the level of what was being
sought by Plaintiff are done with the assistance of trainers. SAMMIS knew full well that Plaintiff
was not an experienced horse buyer and further knew Plaintiff did not have a trainer or agent to assist
her. SAMMIS knew that Plaintiff was relying on the honesty and professional expertise of SAMMIS,
TRAPHAGEN and SCHACHTER in completing the purchase of W Double You.
her. SAMMIS knew that Plaintiff was relying on the honesty and professional expertise of SAMMIS,
TRAPHAGEN and SCHACHTER in completing the purchase of W Double You.
57. Plaintiff wired the funds to seller, LAUREN SAMMIS of SAMMIS SALES, LLC,
from her Florida bank account to a Virginia bank account allegedly owned by LAUREN SAMMIS.
58. Thereafter, LAUREN SAMMIS of SAMMIS SALES, LLC, issued a Bill of Sale,
pursuant to the requirements under Florida law, to Plaintiff.
59. LAUREN SAMMIS of SAMMIS SALES, LLC, prepared the Bill of Sale and entered
the sale date as October 25, 2013. The Bill of Sale clearly denotes that it will not be effective until
both parties sign same.
60. Plaintiff signed the Bill of Sale on or about October 29, 2013 and returned same to
LAUREN SAMMIS. (See Bill of Sale attached as Exhibit 1 and the subject of this lawsuit).
61. Nowhere on the Bill of Sale does LAUREN SAMMIS and SAMMIS SALES, LLC,
list the real owners of the equine that were selling the equine who were Dirk Fiechter and Diederik
Wigmans.
62. It is upon information and belief that LAUREN SAMMIS and SAMMIS SALES,
LLC paid a finder’s fee to SCHACHTER for his referral of Plaintiff.
63. Based on SAMMIS’ representations, Plaintiff permitted the equine to stay with
LAUREN SAMMIS until LAUREN SAMMIS returned to her Florida location on or about
December 2, 2013.
64. When Plaintiff first visited W Double You, upon his arrival in Florida on December
2, 2013, to the barn of SAMMIS SALES, LLC, it was readily apparent the equine was unsound.
65. SCHACHTER provided evaluation and inspection of the equine and advised Plaintiff
that the horse flexed sore but was not unsound and that all the horse required was general
maintenance. This was further supported by comments of SAMMIS.
66. When it was apparent over the course of the next few days that the equine was not
sound, Plaintiff pressed SCHACHTER to supply the radiographs of May 2013 to provide to another
veterinarian for review.
67. That veterinarian detected a bone fragment in the left hind fetlock of the equine which
incidentally was the area where the horse demonstrated unsoundness.
68. Plaintiff questioned SAMMIS on why she did not advise Plaintiff that W Double You
had a known bone fragment internally in the left hind fetlock and SAMMIS advised she was aware
of the fragment’s presence and provided that information to Plaintiff in a written vet report dated
May 29, 2013 which clearly stated, in English, the finding. This document was never produced nor
disclosed to Plaintiff during the review of the horse; the pre-purchase examination by Traphagen,
and apparently not mentioned by SCHACHTER.
69. It was at that time when it was noted the real owner of W Double You was Fiechter
Equ es t r i an Sal es of Be l g ium. The h o r s e w a s a d v e r t i s ed at :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPLr21kYUTc&list=PL2XEUw4QVYWMMRiEVuQm7YC
60eO%20BKYNHN . At no time had SAMMIS advised that she did not own the horse nor did she
advise she was representing the equine for sale on behalf of Fiechter.
70. Plaintiff then pressed SCHACHTER as to how he could miss the interpretation of the
bone fragment to which SCHACHTER advised Plaintiff there was no such bone fragment on the
radiographs taken by Traphagen October 24, 2013. Plaintiff requested SCHACHTER review again
the radiographs of May 29, 2013 (the same ones he reviewed before Plaintiff considered looking at
W Double You) and ironically, now SCHACHTER advised the bone fragment was present all along.
71. Plaintiff then requested the written report of TRAPHAGEN to see if he noted the
bone fragment during his examination and interpretation of the radiographs and to her dismay,
TRAPHAGEN ‘S report was absent of ANY radiographic interpretation as it pertained to the 42
films he took at the time of the prepurchase examination.
72. Plaintiff then requested Traphagen’s radiographs be provided to her by Schachter for
an expert review and to Plaintiff’s dismay, the radiographs taken October 24, 2013 were of poor
diagnostic quality and further were mislabeled as to what extremity was being examined. Despite
same, the bone fragment was obvious to subsequent, similarly trained veterinarians.
73. Plaintiff on January 10, 2014 requested LAUREN SAMMIS to return the purchase
price of the equine and take back the equine.
74. Plaintiff on January 10, 2014 requested of the Defendants, SCHACHTER and
TRAPHAGEN to reimburse Plaintiff the purchase price and vet charges of the equine and take the
equine back in return of such payment.
75. Plaintiff on January 10, 2014, requested of all Defendants to pool their resources and
return her purchase price and pre-purchase exam charges for said horse and for the Defendants to
accept the return of the equine upon receipt of payment.
76. All Defendants refused to return the monies expended by Plaintiff and accept back
the equine.
77. On January 17, 2014, Plaintiff, through counsel, requested of Fiechter Equestrian
Sales a/k/a Dirk Fiechter, to exchange W Double You for a horse of equal training and value and to
take W Double You back as they are, upon information and belief, the real owners and seller at the
time of Plaintiff’s purchase, and LAUREN SAMMIS, was their agent.
78. As a result of the request for an exchange of the equine, it was learned that the owners
of W Double You were asking 75,000 Euros for the horse (which was equivalent at the time of sale
of about $90,000) however, LAUREN SAMMIS priced the equine at $135,000. If LAUREN
SAMMIS after receiving the money from Plaintiff paid the true owners of the horse (Dirk Fiechter
and Diederik Wigmans) the equivalent of $90,000.00, Defendant, LAUREN SAMMIS, would have
retained $45,000 for herself and SAMMIS SALES, LLC.
79. Fiechter Equestrian Sales considered the exchange of W Double You, however, they
would not agree that the new horse be located in the United States and delivered for trial to
Wellington, Florida by Plaintiff nor would they agree to incur the substantial costs in vetting and
transporting the equine.
80. On January 27, 2014, Fiechter Equestrian Sales, through its owner Dirk Fiechter, did
provide to Plaintiff copies of x-rays apparently taken of W Double You overseas in 2011 and 2012,
prior to their alleged ownership, which they contend demonstrate the presence of a bone chip.
Sammis never disclosed that the equine had been x-rayed in 2011 and 2012 which raises suspicion
as to why the equine would have needed that hind fetlock radiographed in 2011 and 2012 if in fact
he was allegedly sound.
COUNT I – RESCISSION AGAINST LAUREN SAMMIS AND SAMMIS SALES, LLC
81. Plaintiff re-adopts by reference each and every allegation contained in Paragraphs 1-
80 as fully set forth herein, and further alleges:
82. Plaintiff requested on January 7, 2014 for LAUREN SAMMIS and SAMMIS SALES,
LLC., to make Plaintiff whole by reimbursing the purchase price and pre-purchase examination
charges for said equine and to receive the equine back upon receipt of payment.
83. Rescission is proper as the sale was based on the existence of fraud and false
misrepresentations.
84. LAUREN SAMMIS AND SAMMIS SALES, LLC., upon information and belief
provided by Dirk Fiechter, had in their possession the May 29, 2013 written examination of a
comprehensive medical examination done on W Double You which clearly identified positive
pathology that would have prevented Plaintiff from ever considering said equine, and they failed to
present the information when requested.
85. There is no remedy available at law against LAUREN SAMMIS AND SAMMIS
SALES, LLC for ensuring the equine is returned for the purchase price thus making Plaintiff whole.
Wherefore, Plaintiff seeks to rescind the Bill of Sale contract seen at Exhibit 1 and to be
provided her purchase price of said equine.
COUNT II- DETRIMENTAL RELIANCE AGAINST LAUREN SAMMIS
86. The Plaintiff adopts by reference each and every allegation contained in Paragraphs
1-80 as fully set forth herein, and further allege:
87. At all times material hereto, and unknown until December 2013, Lauren Sammis was
acting as the agent for Fiechter Equestrian Sales of Belgium, and/or Dirk Fiechter and Diederik
Wigmans, and/or the Florida Corporation of European Dressage Connection, Inc., in the sale of W
Double You.
88. At all times material hereto, Lauren Sammis was acting as agent additionally for
SAMMIS SALES, LLC.
89. Had SAMMIS advised that the true owners were Fiechter Equestrian Sales and/or
Dirk Fiechter and Diederik Wigmans, and/or the Florida Corporation of European Dressage
Connection, Inc., she would not have endeavored to even consider the horse for purchase as it was
Plaintiff’s desire to only purchase an equine from its true owner.
90. Plaintiff further relied on SAMMIS when SAMMIS advised that she had no
knowledge of the existence of any medical conditions that the equine may have when in fact she was
in the possession of a veterinarian report dated May 29, 2013 issued to the owners of W Double You
which clearly denoted the presence of a bone fragment in the left hind fetlock of the horse.
91. Plaintiff detrimentally relied upon the statements by Sammis, acting as agent for
Fiechter and/or Dirk Fiechter and Diederik Wigmans, and/or the Florida Corporation of European
Dressage Connection, Inc and SAMMIS SALES, LLC, as she purchased the horse based on
statements which were knowingly false when made. Such fabrications by SAMMIS caused Plaintiff
to detrimentally rely on the information to justify why the equine was worth $135,000.00.
WHEREFORE the Plaintiff seeks a judgment against the Defendant SAMMIS and
SAMMIS SALES, LLC for the full value of the horse at $135,000.00 and all costs associated with
the false sale such as expenses and a replacement equine.
COUNT III – FRAUDULENT INDUCEMENT AGAINST SAMMIS AND SAMMIS
SALES, LLC
92. The Plaintiff adopts by reference each and every allegation contained in Paragraphs 1-80
as fully set forth herein, and further allege:
93. LAUREN SAMMIS knew and appreciated Plaintiff was not a sophisticated buyer
and
she made knowingly false statements in an effort to induce a sale for the financial gain of herself,
SAMMIS SALES, LLC, and the true owner Fiechter. SAMMIS further represented to Plaintiff that
the equine would receive a “clean” vetting when she knew in fact that not to be true.
94. As a result of the fraudulent statements of LAUREN SAMMIS, Plaintiff purchased said
equine for $135,000.00 and suffered damages far exceeding that amount.
WHEREFORE the Plaintiff seeks a judgment against the Defendant SAMMIS and
SAMMIS SALES, LLC for the full value of the horse at $135,000.00 and all costs associated with
the false sale such as expenses and a replacement equine.

COUNT IV – VIOLATION OF FLORIDA STATUTE § 535.16 AGAINST LAUREN
SAMMIS AND SAMMIS SALES, LLC

95. The Plaintiff adopts by reference each and every allegation contained in Paragraphs 1-80
as fully set forth herein, and further allege:
96. Both Defendants, LAUREN SAMMIS and SAMMIS SALES, LLC, have domiciles in
Wellington, Palm Beach County, Florida.
97. Both Defendants, LAUREN SAMMIS AND SAMMIS SALES, LLC, conduct
substantial business in Florida selling horses, competing and training.
98. Defendants, LAUREN SAMMIS and SAMMIS SALES, LLC., were in fact selling an
equine owned by two Florida residents (Dirk Fiechter and Diederik Wigmans) who not only conduct
significant horse sales in Wellington, Florida but also own a Florida Corporation known as European
Dressage Connection, Inc., a company that finds dressage horses in Europe to import to the United
States to be sold in the United States.
99. The only reason said equine and SAMMIS were in New Jersey was for dressage
competitions of Sammis and her other equines.
100. LAUREN SAMMIS and SAMMIS SALES, LLC failed to follow Florida Statute §
535.16 (2013) when they failed to issue a bill of sale pursuant to Florida Administrative Code 5H-
26.001-5H-26.004.
101. SAMMIS SALES, LLC, is a Florida corporation, with its registered agent being
LAUREN SAMMIS, which both list the principal address as Wellington, Florida.
102. The Bill of Sale, at issue in this case, was prepared by registered agent, LAUREN
SAMMIS on the business stationary of SAMMIS SALES, LLC., a Florida corporation, and
presented to Plaintiff, a Florida resident.
103. Pursuant to Florida law, LAUREN SAMMIS was obligated to advise the buyer,
Plaintiff, that the actual owners of the equine was Fiechter Equestrian Sales and/or Dirk Fiechter and
Diederik Wigmans, and/or the Florida Corporation of European Dressage Connection, Inc, and not
SAMMIS nor SAMMIS SALES, and further that LAUREN SAMMIS was receiving a commission
as agent on the sale over the statutory $500.00.
104. Defendants violated Florida law by failing to do so.
105. Defendants violated Florida law by failing to issue a Bill of Sale by Fiechter Equestrian
Sales and/or Dirk Fiechter and Diederik Wigmans, and/or the Florida Corporation of European
Dressage Connection, Inc and including the statutory disclosure language. The very language that
has it been included would have required the Bill of Sale provide the known medical condition of
the equine.
106. Had Plaintiff been provided a Bill of Sale pursuant to the Florida law, she would not
have purchased said horse, because said Bill of Sale would have reflected the medical condition of
the equine.
WHEREFORE the Plaintiff seeks a judgment against the Defendant SAMMIS and
SAMMIS SALES, LLC for the full value of the horse at $135,000.00 and all costs associated with
the sale including her attorney fees and costs.
COUNT V – VIOLATION OF FLORIDA’S UNFAIR AND DECEPTIVE TRADE
PRACTICES ACT, 501.201 ET SEQ. AS TO LAUREN SAMMIS AND SAMMIS SALES,
LLC
107. The Plaintiff adopts by reference each and every allegation contained in Paragraphs 1-
80 as fully set forth herein:
108. This is an action brought pursuant to Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices
Act, Chapter 501 (2013).
109. Defendants, at all times material hereto, provided goods or services as defined within
§501.203(8), Florida Statutes (2013).
110. Defendants, at all times material hereto, were engaged in a trade or commerce within
the definition of §501.203(8), Florida Statutes (2013).
111. At all times material hereto, Defendants know of or controlled the sale of W Double
You and had actual knowledge or knowledge fairly implied on the basis of objective circumstances
that their acts and acts of their agents, as described below, were unfair or deceptive and/or prohibited
by law.
112. Chapter §501.204(1) of the Florida Statutes declares that unfair or deceptive acts or
practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are unlawful.
113. Commencing on a date unknown, but at least on or about October 20, 2013, the
Defendants engaged in a systematic pattern of conduct designed and intended to induce a consumer
to purchase W Double You via a series of false and fraudulent representations.
114. Defendants or their agents orally represented and/or otherwise stated to Plaintiff that
they owned W Double You.
115. Defendants or their agents orally represented that they knew of no medical conditions
of concerns medically of W Double You to disclose to Plaintiff when in fact they were in possession
of such information dated May 29, 2013.
116. As a result of Defendants unfair and deceptive trade practices, Plaintiff purchased said
equine and enriched themselves in the process.
117. As a result of the foregoing and as specifically heretofore set forth, Defendants have
engaged in deceptive acts or practices as aforesaid in violation of the provisions of Chapter §501,
After a demand letter was issued to Traphagen January 10, 2014, he immediately sought reinstatement of his New
Jersey veterinary license, however, it does not obviate the fact that he practiced veterinary medicine without a license
at the time of the examination at issue in this case. As of February 4, 2014, his license has not been reinstated.
Part II of the Florida Statutes.
Wherefore, Plaintiff seeks damages afforded through Florida Statute §501, inclusive of
an award of reasonable attorney fees pursuant to §501.2075 and damages, and grant such other relief
as this honorable court deems just and proper.
COUNT VI – PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE AGAINST D. SCOTT TRAPHAGEN
118. The Plaintiff adopts by reference each and every allegation contained in Paragraphs 1-
80 as fully set forth herein:
119. Defendant, SCOTT TRAPHAGEN, DVM, was and is a licensed veterinarian who
held himself out to the public and the Plaintiff in particular as capable of and also undertook the
corresponding duty to the Plaintiff of providing a pre-purchase examination in accordance with that
level of care and skill which is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent
similar veterinary providers in the same or similar community.
120. Defendant further held himself out as having an active license to conduct a pre-purchase
examination in New Jersey on October 24, 2013 when in fact he completed an examination with the
existence of an expired license.2
121. Defendant had a duty to Plaintiff to conduct a pre-purchase examination within the
acceptable standards of care for veterinarians of reasonable training and education.
122. Defendant breached the standard of care in conducting the pre-purchase examination,
including but not limited to: (1) failing to communicate with the Buyer as to the scope of the
retention; (2) failure to conduct a proper history of the equine to establish the presence of the
previous examination conducted May 29, 2013; (3) failure to properly obtain radiographs of
diagnostic quality to determine the presence of reportable pathology; (4) failure to communicate with
the Plaintiff when the examination was complete to convey his clinical and diagnostic findings; (5)
failure to interpret the radiographs taken by him to report the positive pathology contained on those
xrays which not only included the bone fragment of the left hind fetlock, but other significant
findings that had they been conveyed would have disqualified the equine from purchase; (6) failure
to properly document the radiographic interpretation of each of the 42 radiographs taken during the
prepurchase examination; (7) failure to provide the written clinical and diagnostic findings to the
Plaintiff, the Buyer, for her understanding and consideration; and (8) failure to advise the Plaintiff
that his veterinary license was not currently active.
123. As a direct and proximate cause of the breaches to the standard of care in the
conducting and reporting of the pre-purchase examination, Plaintiff was significantly damaged when
she purchased the equine W Double You for $135,000.
Wherefore, Plaintiff seeks a judgment against Defendant in excess of the damages she
sustained of the purchase price of said equine, vet charges and all costs incurred for maintaining a
lame horse, a replacement equine, and any just remedy afforded by the court.
COUNT VII – CLAIM AGAINST D. SCOTT TRAPHAGEN, DVM, PA FOR
VICARIOUS LIABILITY OF D. SCOTT TRAPHAGEN, DVM
124. The Plaintiff adopts by reference each and every allegation contained in Paragraphs 1-
80 and 119-123 as fully set forth herein:
125. As previously alleged, Defendant, D. SCOTT TRAPHAGEN., was the agent, servant,
or employee of Defendant, D. SCOTT TRAPHAGEN, DVM, PA, and therefore, Defendant, D.
SCOTT TRAPHAGEN, DVM, PA, is vicariously liable for the negligence of Defendant, D. SCOTT
TRAPHAGEN, as set forth in Count VI.
COUNT VIII – PROFESSIONAL NEGLIGENCE AGAINST BEN SCHACHTER, DVM
126. The Plaintiff adopts by reference each and every allegation contained in Paragraphs 1-
80 as fully set forth herein:
127. Defendant, BEN SCHACHTER, DVM, was and is a licensed veterinarian who held
himself out to the public and the Plaintiff in particular as capable of and also undertook the
corresponding duty to the Plaintiff of providing a pre-purchase examination in accordance with that
level of care and skill which is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent
similar veterinary providers in the same or similar community.
128. Defendant further held himself out as the veterinarian who accomplished the prepurchase
examination with Traphagen which was demonstrated by the fact Schachter did all
communications with Traphagen about the examination and was the only veterinarian who conveyed
information to Plaintiff. Moreover, Schachter billed for the examination.
129. Defendant had a duty to Plaintiff to properly interpret the radiographs dated May 29,
2013 provided to his attention by SAMMIS prior to Plaintiff trying said horse for sale.
130. Defendant had a duty to Plaintiff to ensure Dr. Traphagen conducted a pre-purchase
examination within the acceptable standards of care for veterinarians of reasonable training and
education given Schachter engaged the services of Traphagen. Further Defendant had a duty to
ensure that the pre-purchase examination was conducted by a veterinarian licensed in the State of
New Jersey.
131. Defendant breached the standard of care by failing to properly interpret the May 29,
2013 radiographs taken in the Netherlands and provided to him when he failed to document and
convey to Plaintiff his radiographic interpretations and further failed to detect the obvious bone
fragment in the left hind fetlock.
132. Defendant further failed in conducting the pre-purchase examination, including but not
limited to: (1) failing to communicate with the Buyer as to the scope of the retention of Traphagen;
(2) failure to conduct a proper history of the equine to establish the presence of the previous
examination conducted May 29, 2013, including the fact SAMMIS had a written report in her
possession of the presence of a bone fragment; (3) failure to properly obtain radiographs of
diagnostic quality to determine the presence of reportable pathology; (4) failure to have Traphagen
communicate with the Plaintiff when the examination was complete to convey his clinical and
diagnostic findings; (5) failure to interpret the radiographs taken by Traphagen, for which Defendant,
SCHACHTER, charged Plaintiff for SCHACHTER’s review and opinion, to report the positive
pathology contained on those x-rays which not only included the bone fragment of the left hind
fetlock, but other significant findings that had they been conveyed would have disqualified the
equine from purchase; (6) failure to properly document the radiographic interpretation of each of the
42 radiographs taken during the pre-purchase examination which were allegedly interpreted by
Schachter and for which Plaintiff was charged for that interpretation; (7) failure to provide the
written clinical and diagnostic findings to the Plaintiff, the Buyer, for her understanding and
consideration; and failing to provide a complete copy of the equine medical chart of W Double You
in the possession of Schachter so that Plaintiff did not need to incur additional expenses in having
the same veterinary work repeated.
133. Defendant, Ben Schachter, DVM, fell below the standard of care for an informed
consent process when he failed to advise Plaintiff that he was uninsured for professional negligence
for the engaged veterinary work he undertook.
134. As a direct and proximate cause of the breaches to the standard of care in the
conducting and reporting of the pre-purchase examination, Plaintiff was significantly damaged when
she purchased the equine W Double You for $135,000.
Wherefore, Plaintiff seeks a judgment against Defendant in excess of the damages she
sustained.

COUNT IX- CLAIM AGAINST BEN L. SCHACHTER, DVM, INC. A/K/A
WELLINGTON EQUINE ASSOCIATES FOR VICARIOUS LIABILITY OF BEN
SCHACHTER, DVM
135. The Plaintiff adopts and reallege paragraphs 1 through 80 and 127-134 and further
alleges:
136. Ben Schachter, DVM, as the owner of Ben L. Schachter, DVM, Inc., knew or should
have known that his engagement of Dr. Traphagen to conduct a pre-purchase examination in New
Jersey was in violation of the New Jersey Veterinary Rules and Regulations as Dr. Trapahagen had
no relationship with Plaintiff, never spoke to Plaintiff, and that Traphagen undertook his veterinary
work with an expired vet license in October 2013. Such actions are errors and omissions of a
business owner.
137. As previously alleged, Defendant, BEN SCHACHTER, DVM, was the agent, servant,
or employee of Defendant, BEN L. SCHACHTER DVM, INC, and therefore, Defendant, BEN L.
SCHACHTER, DVM, INC, is vicariously liable for the negligence of Defendant, BEN
SCHACHTER, DVM., as set forth in Count VIII.
Wherefore, Plaintiff seeks a judgment against Defendant in excess of the damages she
sustained.
DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
Plaintiff demands a trial by jury.
DAVID L. LEVY, ESQUIRE

View Complaint

 

July 2015 – Defendants’ Lauren Sammis and Sammis Sales, LLC motion to dismiss for improper venue denied.

August 2015 – Sammis appeals decision to Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal

Case No. 4DCA# 15-2993 in Palm Beach

February 18, 2016, Higher court affirms lower court’s ruling

 

July 11, 2017, Case settled between parties after Hearing

Dismissed with prejudice, all parties bearing their own costs

 

 

Suit Alleges Unscrupulous Practices by Vets, Trainer in Sale of $135K Dressage Horse