Judicial District of New Haven


      Fraudulent Misrepresentation; Whether Undisclosed Expert Witness' Testimony Improperly Admitted as Lay Opinion; Whether Plaintiff Entitled to Consequential Damages. The plaintiff bought a horse from the defendant for $2800.  She brought this action claiming that, despite the defendant's representation that the horse was rideable and needed only training and exercise in order to be a good trail horse, the horse had bucked and thrown her and was in fact dangerous and unrideable.  The plaintiff claimed that, as a result of the horse's dangerous disposition, she had been forced to sell it to a rodeo for $200.  The plaintiff's two count complaint alleged that the defendant was liable for fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting the horse's true nature in inducing the plaintiff to buy it.  The trial court rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiff on the fraudulent misrepresentation count and awarded her $2600, finding that the defendant knew of the horse's dangerous propensities and that the defendant's representation in the advertisement that the horse was "green broke," meaning it needed only training and exercise to render it safely rideable, constituted a positive misrepresentation of a material fact.  The defendant appeals, claiming the trial court wrongly permitted one of the plaintiff's witnesses, a professional horse trainer who had worked with the horse, to testify that the horse was not green broke, a matter that the defendant claims required expert testimony.  The defendant argues that, while the witness was a horse expert, the plaintiff failed to disclose her as an expert as required by the Practice Book and that, despite such failure, the court nonetheless permitted the witness' testimony under the guise of lay opinion.  The defendant also claims that the court wrongly awarded the plaintiff $2600 absent any finding as to the value of the horse when the plaintiff sold it and that the $200 selling price was not a true reflection of the horse's value because that sale was not the result of an arm's length transaction. The plaintiff has cross appealed, claiming that the court should have awarded her the costs of boarding, shoeing and training the horse as consequential damages stemming from the defendant's fraud.  She also contends that the trial court's judgment can be affirmed on the alternate ground that she presented sufficient evidence to support her claim that the defendant was liable for negligent misrepresentation.

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