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SUSAN RACHAEL STEIN, Plaintiff, vs. LEFT BANK EQUINE, INC., JAMES BELDEN, DVM, DARREN GRAZIANO dba DG VENTURE, Defendants.

No. 2014 CA 005744

FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

Plaintiff, Susan Rachael Stein, (“Stein”), as and for her First Amended Complaint against
Defendants Left Bank Equine, Inc. (“Left Bank”), Dr. James Belden, D.V.M. (“Belden”), Darren
Graziano d/b/a DG Venture (collectively “Graziano”) hereby by states as follows:
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
1. This is an action for professional negligence, negligent misrepresentation, negligence,
breach of fiduciary duty, unfair trade practice and for damages that exceed $ 15,000.00,
exclusive of interest fees, costs and attorney’s fees.
2. This Court has personal jurisdiction over the Defendants pursuant to § 48.193, Florida
Statutes, in that Defendants performed tortious acts in this State as more fully set forth
herein.
3. Venue is proper in Palm Beach County, Florida because the causes of action accrued
4. Plaintiff Susan Stein is a resident of the State of New Jersey, having an address in Palm
Beach County, Florida at 10678 Versailles, Blvd., Wellington, FL 33414.
5. Defendant Left Bank Equine, Inc. is a Florida corporation having an address at 15860 46th
Lane South, Wellington, FL 33414.
6. Defendant James Belden, D.V.M. is, upon information and belief, a Florida resident
having an address at 15860 46th Lane South, Wellington, FL 33414 and is the sole owner
of Left Bank Equine, Inc.
7. Defendant Darren Graziano is a resident of the State of Florida having an address at 13833
Wellington Trace, E4 #161, Wellington, FL 33414 and does business as “DG Venture.”
ALLEGATIONS COMMON TO ALL COUNTS
8. On or about November, 2012, Plaintiff Stein was shown a horse for purchase in
Wellington, Florida a horse known at “Usandra” a/k/a “Jada”, a then 11 year old bay,
Warmblood mare, United States Equestrian Federation Number 5151512.
9. The individual who located and offered Usandra for sale to Stein was Danen Graziano
(“Graziano”). This transaction and all negotiations connected thereto were conducted by
and through Defendant Graziano.
10. In all discussions and negotiations for the purchase of the horse Plaintiff made clear to
Graziano that she wished to purchase a horse for the purpose of competitive jumping in the
high amateur owner division and thereafter for the purpose of investment for sale and/or
lease for a profit.
11. Defendant Graziano located and presented Usandra as a suitable horse for competitive
jumping in the high amateur jumper division and thereafter for the purpose of investment
for sale or for lease.
·12. Mr. Graziano received a sales commission from Stein for the purchase of Usandra, and,
upon information and belief, received a commission from the owner/seller of that horse,
Jonathan Corrigan (“Seller”), as well and produced the form of Bill of Sale for the horse
(Exhibit A hereto).
13. Graziano thereafter selected and hired Defendants Left Bank and Belden to conduct the
prepurchase examination (“PPE”) of Usandra on behalf of Stein, including without
limitation radiographs and physical examination to discover and notify Plaintiff of any
illness, pre-existing conditions, health concerns, physical defects, conformational issues or
other physical abnormalities of the horse that would impact its suitability for its intended
use.
14. Left Bank and Belden were informed by both Stein and Graziano that the horse was being
considered for purchase as a high amateur jumper, which would, by nature of the high
amateur classification, be subjected to significant stress to train and show at that level of
competition in that division.
15. Left Bank and Belden are familiar with the purposes for which Stein intended to use the
horse and the health requirements necessary for a horse to possess in order to be suitable
for use in the high amateur division.
16. On December 5, 2012, Defendants conducted the PPE of Usandra at the farm of the
Seller of the horse, for the benefit of Plaintiff and with the intent that Plaintiff would rely
upon the results of the PPE and the resultant report. A copy of the written PPE report is
attached hereto as Exhibit B.
17. Defendants took over 60 prepurchase radiographs (x-rays) of the horse, the number and ·
site location for which were chosen by Defendants and not by Plaintiff. Those
radiographs covered various sites of all four limbs of the horse.
18. Unbeknownst to Plaintiff, a prior prepurchase veterinary examination of the horse by Dr.
Sarah Cohen, DVM had been commissioned by Mr. Graziano (the “Cohen PPE”). The
conclusions by Dr. Cohen from that examination, only recently discovered and revealed by
and to Plaintiff, was that the horse possessed significant abnormalities making it a
questionable purchase option for Plaintiff.
19. The existence of that examination and the conclusions of Dr. Cohen was not ever revealed
to Plaintiffby either Dr. Belden or Mr. Graziano. Instead, Mr. Graziano “doctor shopped”
and requested Dr. Belden conduct a new PPE and write a PPE report that minimized,
omitted and ignored the abnormalities and risks to the health of Usandra which Plaintiff
later learned Dr. Cohen had discovered in the first PPE ofUsandra.
20. Dr. Belden and Mr. Graziano thereafter met with Plaintiff within several days of December
5, 2012 to discuss the results of the second PPE by Dr. Belden. At that meeting, Plaintiff
reiterated her intended use of the horse and queried Dr. Belden as to the ability of the horse
to sustainably compete at the class level intended.
21. At no time during the PPE process did Dr. Belden or Left Bank Equine communicate to
Plaintiff that, the sum total of the listed abnormalities could be considered to be of overall
increased risk for unsoundness in its intended use, nor that the first PPE by Dr. Cohen had
had identified abnormalities that put U sandra at risk of not maintaining soundness.
22. In contrast, Belden and Graziano represented to Stein that, based upon the results of the
PPE, the horse was sound, healthy, possessed no significant physical defects that would
impede its ability to perform and was indeed suitable for its intended purpose as a high
amateur jumper and thereafter for the purpose of investment for sale or for lease for a
potential profit.
The abnormalities which Dr. Belden did identity as existing on December 5, 2013,
included, in italics:
Left Fore- high heel; hoof narrow
Left Hind- Fluid hock; old middle medial splint; fluid digital sheath
Right fore -Moderate fill digital sheath
Right Hind – mild fluid hock; high lateral splint thickening
23. Defendants also noted positive flexation reactions on the Left Hind, Right Hind and Right
Front as well as “slight entrophy” on or above the croup, as pictured on the first page of the
PPE report.
24. Additionally, Defendants made notations of findings in the PPE as to 5 of the 60
radiographs taken of the horse.
25. Despite such observations of abnormalities, flexation reactions and notations as to
particular findings in the radiographs, Defendants failed to adequately and sufficiently
communicate the significance and impact as to probability of sustained soundness and
suitability of the horse to Plaintiff.
26. Defendants Dr. Belden and Left Bank Equine were the veterinarian of :Plaintiff for the PPE.
and owed Plaintiff a duty to adequately and completely disclose the abnormalities they
discovered during the PPE to Plaintiff and furthet owed a duty to inform Plaintiff of the
effect such abnormalities could have upon the continued soundness and suitability of the
horse to compete as intended by Plaintiff.
27. Defendants also failed to discover all of the abnormalities of the horse that were present in
the horse on December 5, 2012.
28. In reliance upon the Belden PPE report and discussion of the Belden PPE results by
Defendants with Plaintiff, Plaintiff purchased the horse for$ 200,000.00 on December 11,
2012, which included relinquishing ownership of a horse named “Victor.” In making her
decision to purchase the horse, Plaintiff relied upon the PPE by Defendants and upon the
professional expertise of Defendants to completely and fully examine the horse, and
further relied upon Defendants to accurately and full communicate their examination
findings and assessment of the horse as a suitable mount and investment to Plaintiff.
29. Had Defendants discovered all of the abnormalities in the horse and completely and
accurately communicated same to Plaintiff in their PPE report and discussion, Plaintiff
would not have purchased the horse.
30. Had Defendants revealed the existence and conclusions of the earlier Cohen PPE, Plaintiff
would not have purchased the horse.
31. Thereafter, the horse began manifesting significant lameness in various sites of the body.
Plaintiff attempted to have the cause of the lameness diagnosed and treated by other
veterinarians, without complete success. While attempting to address the lameness,
Plaintiff lost not only the use of the horse for significant periods of time, but has sustained
actual damages, including but not limited to the costs of: veterinarian work, daily care and
maintenance, show costs, as well as the complete diminution of value of the horse Usandra.
32. The horse’s physical defects rendered her useless for any and all purposes for which
Plaintiff purchased her, including without limitation, competitive jumping in the high
amateur division and for resale or leasing.
3 3. As a direct and proximate result of the errors and omissions of Defendants, Plaintiff has
therefore sustained substantial damages.
34. All conditions precedent to this action have either been waived or excused.
COUNT I
Veterinary malpractice against Left Bank and Belden
35. Plaintiff repeats and realleges against Defendants~~ 1 through 34 herein, inclusive, as if
more fully set forth here.
36. By virtue of Defendants’ role as the veterinarian of Plaintiff for the PPE, and given the
specialized education, knowledge and skills necessary to perform such role, Defendants
owed Plaintiff a duty to perform those services in and to the appropriate standard ofcare.
In undertaking the PPE of the horse on behalf of Plaintiff, Defendants agreed to perform
the examination with the requisite skill and diligence, and in accordance with the standard
of care for veterinarians performing such work in Florida.
37. Defendants breached said duties by both failing to discover and communicate to Plaintiff
all abnormalities in the radiographs of the horse and also, by failing to communicate to
Plaintiff the effect the abnormalities that the Defendants did discover could have upon the
continued soundness and suitability of the horse to compete as intended by Plaintiff.
38. As a direct and proximate result of those breaches of duties by Defendants, Plaintiff
purchased the horse, and thereafter, when the horse was in full work, encountered an
extended period of serious lameness of the horse, lost the use of the horse and therefore
incurred significant actual damages, including but not limited to those relating to the
diagnosis, treatment and care for the horse, surrender of the horse Victor, and the complete
diminution in value of the horse Usandra, which damages Plaintiff would not have incurred
but for the acts and omissions of Defendants stated herein.
39. WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Susan Stein demands judgment against
Defendants Left Bank Equine, Inc and James Belden, D.V.M. for monetary damages,
interest, the costs incurred in the litigation of this action, and other relief as the Court
deems appropriate.
COUNT II
Negligent misrepresentation against Left Bank and Belden
40. Plaintiff repeats and realleges against Defendants~~ 1 through 34 herein, inclusive, as if
more fully set forth here.
41. As set forth more particularly herein above, Plaintiff employed Defendants to conduct a
PPE of the horse. Defendants accepted this employment arid was aware that the PPE was
being made on behalf of Plaintiff to examine the horse for fitness for a particular purpose
and Defendants were further aware Plaintiff would rely upon Defendants’ findings in
making the decision to purchase, or not to purchase the horse.
42. Defendants were further aware that the conference with Plaintiffto discuss the findings of
the PPE was conducted so that Defendants could fully and completely discuss the PPE
findings with Plaintiff so that Plaintiff could make an informed decision as to whether to
purchase the horse.
43. Defendants failed to advise Plaintiff, both in the PPE and in the conference with Plaintiff
that the abnormalities that Defendants did discover would affect the continued soundness
and suitability of the horse to compete as intended by Plaintiff.
44. Additionally, Defendants failed to discover all of the abnormalities of the horse and thus
failed to completely examine the horse.
45. Additionally, Defendants failed to reveal the existence and unfavorable conclusions ofthe
first Cohen PPE to Plaintiff.
46. By virtue of their training, skill and experience, Defendants should have known that the
Belden PPE report and the conference with Plaintiff contained material statements of fact
that were false and omissions of fact that were materially misleading, particularly in light
of the earlier Cohen PPE, which yielded different conclusions.
4 7. By virtue of their training, skill and experience, Defendants should have known that the
findings of the first Cohen PPE, which Plaintiff only recently learned were not favorable to
the continued soundness of the horse, contained material facts which should have been
revealed to Plaintiff.
48. Defendants knew that Plaintiff was relying upon Defendants to uncover all abnormalities
in the horse during the PPE process and would rely upon the Defendants, their PPE and
their discussion of the PPE findings in making the decision whether or not to purchase the
horse.
49. Defendants knew that Plaintiff was also relying upon Defendants to reveal the findings of

all PPEs conducted on Usandra, including the first PPE by Dr. Cohen, which Defendants
buried and never discussed with Plaintiff.
50. Plaintiff was justified in relying upon Defendants’ statements and their reliance solely on
the second PPE by Dr. Belden because of their professional training, knowledge and skill.
51. Plaintiff was further justified in relying upon Defendants to divulge the existence of all
prior PPEs of the horse, particularly the one by Dr. Cohen.
52. But for the acts and omissions of Defendants, Plaintiff would not have purchased the
horse and would not have sustained damages including but not limited to loss use of the
horse and significant costs, including, but not limited, to those relating to the diagnosis,
treatment and care for the horse.
53. Plaintiff therefore incurred significant actual damages, including but not limited to those
relating to the diagnosis, treatment and care for the horse, surrender of the horse Victor,
and the complete diminution in value of the horse Usandra, which damages Plaintiff would
not have incurred but for the acts and omissions of Defendants stated herein.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Susan Stein demands judgment against Defendants Left Bank
Equine, Inc and James Belden, D.V.M. for monetary damages, interest, the costs incurred in the
litigation of this action, and other relief as the Court deems appropriate.
COUNT III
Negligence against Left Bank and Belden

54. Plaintiff repeats and realleges against Defendants ,, 1 through 34 herein, inclusive, as if
more fully set forth here.
55. By accepting employment as the veterinarian of Plaintiff for the PPE, Defendants owed
Plaintiff a duty to perform those services with prudence and diligence.
56. Defendants breached that duty by: (i) failing to discover and communicate to Plaintiff all
abnormalities in the radiographs of the horse; (ii) failing to communicate to Plaintiff the
effect the abnormalities Defendants did discover could have upon the continued soundness
and suitability of the horse to compete as intended by Plaintiff; and (iii) by failing to
divulge the existence of and conclusions of the first Cohen PPE.
57. Additionally, Defendants failed to reveal the existence and conclusions of the Cohen PPE
to Plaintiff.
58. As a direct and proximate result of those breaches of duties by Defendants, Plaintiff
purchased the horse, and thereafter encountered an extended period of significant lameness
of the horse, and lost the use of the horse.
59. Plaintiff therefore incurred significant actual damages, including but not limited to those
relating to the diagnosis, treatment and care for the horse, surrender of the horse Victor,
and the complete diminution in value of the horse Usandra, which damages Plaintiff would
not have incurred but for the acts and omissions of Defendants stated herein.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Susan Stein demands judgment against Defendants Left Bank
Equine, Inc and James Belden, D.V.M. for monetary damages, interest, the costs incurred in
the litigation of this action, and other relief as the Court deems appropriate.
COUNT IV
Breach of Fiduciary Duty against Left Bank and Belden
60. Plaintiff repeats and realleges against Defendants 11 1 through 34 herein, inclusive, as if
more fully set forth here.
61. By accepting employment as the veterinarian of Plaintiff for the PPE, Defendants owed
Plaintiff a duty to perform those services with prudence and diligence so as to protect and
benefit Plaintiff as her employee.
62. Plaintiff was relying, and in fact relied upon the unique training, experience and skill
possessed by Defendants, in assessing the suitability of the horse prior to purchase, and
Defendants were aware that Plaintiff was wholly dependent upon Defendants for their
unique training, experience and skill during the PPE process.
63. Defendants breached that duty, by: (i) failing to discover and communicate to Plaintiff all
abnormalities in the radiographs of the horse; (ii) failing to communicate to Plaintiff the
effect the abnormalities Defendants did discover could have upon the continued soundness
and suitability of the horse to compete as intended by Plaintiff; and (iii) failing to disclose
the existence and conclusions of the earlier Cohen PPE.
64. As a direct and proximate result of those breaches of duties by Defendants, Plaintiff
purchased the horse, thereafter encountered an extended period of significant lameness of
the horse, and lost the use of the horse.
65. Plaintiff therefore incurred significant actual damages, including but not limited to those
relating to the diagnosis, treatment and care for the horse, surrender of the horse Victor,
and the complete diminution in value of the horse Usandra, which damages Plaintiff would
not have incurred but for the acts and omissions of Defendants stated herein.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Susan Stein demands judgment against Defendants Left Banlc
Equine, Inc and James Belden, D.V.M. for monetary damages, interest, the costs incurred in
the litigation of this action, and other relief as the Court deems appropriate.
COUNT VI
Dual Agency as Unfair Trade Practice Act against Graziano
66. Plaintiff repeats and realleges against Defendants ~~ 1 through 34 herein, inclusive, as if
more fully set forth here.
67. By promoting the Usandra purchase, Mr. Graziano was able to obtain ownership of
“Victor”, another horse owned by Plaintiff which was part of the purchase price for
Usandra, and which horse Victor he then subsequently sold on behalf of the former owner
of Usandra thus earning commission on that transaction.
68. Graziano acted as a dual agent of both purchaser and seller in the purchase and sale of the
horse Usandra to Plaintiff. Graziano admitted to Plaintiff that he agreed to pay another
trainer a sales commission on any future transaction regarding Victor, and the only source
of those funds was from Graziano’s own, undisclosed sales commission in the Usandra
transaction.
69. Graziano did not disclose to Stein that he was such a dual agent, would benefit from the
resale of Victor, and neither obtained nor received written consent from both the purchaser
and seller.
70. Upon information and belief, Graziano received more than $500 from the Seller of the
horse Victor.
71. Graziano, as a consequence of the foregoing allegations, violated Florida Administrative
Code SH-26.001 et seq. and thus committed an unfair trade practice act pursuant to F.S.
Chapter 501, Part II et seq.
72. Plaintiff therefore incurred significant actual damages, including but not limited to those
relating to the diagnosis, treatment and care for the horse, surrender of the horse Victor,
and the complete diminution in value of the horse Usandra, which damages Plaintiff would
not have incurred but for the acts and omissions of Defendants stated herein.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Susan Stein demands judgment against Defendant Darren
Graziano for monetary damages, interest, the costs incurred in the litigation of this action
pursuant to F.S. § 501.211, and such other relief as the Court deems appropriate.
COUNT VII
Breach of Fiduciary Duty by Graziano
73. Plaintiff repeats and realleges against Defendant ~~ 1 through 34 herein, inclusive, as if
more fully set forth here.
74. By accepting employment as the agent of Plaintiff for the PPE, Defendant owed Plaintiff a
duty to perform those services with prudence and diligence so as to protect and benefit
Plaintiff as her employee.
75. Plaintiff was relying, and in fact relied upon the unique training, experience and skill
possessed by Defendant in assessing the suitability of the horse prior to purchase, and
Defendant was aware that Plaintiff was wholly dependent upon Defendant for his unique
training, experience and skill during the PPE process.
76. Defendant breached that duty, by: (i) failing to communicate to Plaintiff the probable effect
of all abnormalities in the radiographs of the horse to the assessment of the suitability of the
horse as an investment; (ii) failing to communicate to Plaintiff the effect the abnormalities
Defendants did discover could have upon the continued soundness and suitability of the
horse to compete as intended by Plaintiff; and (iii) failing to disclose the existence and
conclusions of the earlier Cohen PPE.
77. As a direct and proximate result of those breaches of duties by Defendant, Plaintiff
purchased the horse, thereafter encountered an extended period of significant lameness of
the horse, and lost the use of the horse.
78. Graziano was thus able to gain possession of the horse Victor in the Usandra transaction
and make a profit upon the sale of that horse.
79. Plaintiff therefore incurred significant actual damages, including but not limited to those
relating to the diagnosis, treatment and care for the horse, surrender of the horse Victor,
and the complete diminution in value of the horse Usandra, which damages Plaintiff would
not have incurred but for the acts and omissions of Defendants stated herein.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Susan Stein demands judgment against Defendants Darren
Graziano for monetary damages, interest, the costs incurred in the litigation of this action, and
other relief as the Court deems appropriate.
COUNT VIII
Fraud against Graziano
80. Plaintiff repeats and realleges against Defendant ,, 1 through 34 herein, inclusive, as if
more fully set forth here.
81. When meeting with Plaintiff and Dr. Belden to discuss the results of the PPE, Mr. Graziano
told Plaintiff that the horse was suitable for Plaintiff, would remain sound for her intended
use and that the horse was a good investment.
82. Defendant Graziano made those statem~nts knowing that Plaintiff would rely upon them.
83. Defendant Graziano knew or had reason to know that the statements were false when he
made them.
84. By making the aforesaid representations promoting the Usandra purchase, Mr. Graziano
was able to obtain ownership of”Victor”, another horse owned by Plaintiff, which he then
subsequently sold, earning commission on that transaction.
85. By failing to reveal the existence and conclusions of the Cohen PPE, Mr. Graziano sought
to conceal from Plaintiff material facts concerning the condition and suitability of the horse
Usandra so that Mr. Graziano would benefit from the sale of Usandra through the Victor
transaction .
86. Graziano knew that the Cohen PPE findings contained material facts as to the risk for loss
of soundness of U sandra and failed to reveal and concealed those findings from Plaintiff in
order to cause Plaintiff to consummate the purchase ofUsandra by relying upon the more
favorable, second PPE by Dr. Belden.
87. Graziano was thus able to gain possession of the horse Victor in the Usandra transaction
and make a profit upon the sale of that horse.
88. As a direct and proximate result of those fraudulent statements and om1sswns by
Defendant, Plaintiff purchased the horse, thereafter encountered an extended period of
significant lameness of the horse, and lost the use of the horse.
89. Plaintiff therefore incurred significant actual damages, including but not limited to those
relating to the diagnosis, treatment and care for the horse, surrender of the horse Victor,
and the complete diminution in value of the horse Usandra, which damages Plaintiff would
not have incurred but for the acts and omissions of Defendants stated herein.
WHEREFORE,
Plaintiff Susan Stein demands judgment against Defendant Darrin
Graziano for monetary damages, interest, the costs incurred in the litigation of this action, and
other relief as the Court deems appropriate.
Demand for Jury
Plaintiff hereby demands trial on all issues as a matter of right before a duly constituted
Jury.
Respectfully submitted,
CHAPMAN LAW GROUP, PLC
12008 South Shore Blvd.
Suite 107
Wellington, FL 33414
Tel 561.753.5996
Fax 561.753.9966

Case settled May 20, 2015. Dismissed with prejudice.