Lady Georgina Forbes has released a press statement in reply to the one made by Mrs. Jessica Kürten last week. The statement from Forbes lawyer Eva Jacob contains the following elements:
1. After Lady Georgina Forbes terminated her working relationship with Ms. Jessica Kürten as of 31 December 2010, the latter refused to return the horses belonging to Lady Forbes on the grounds that Lady Forbes allegedly owed her, her husband, and a company called Sporthorses International Ltd. a total of about €1.5 million. She demanded payment in exchange for the horses. However, her claims were plainly unfounded; they were neither explained in detail nor documented.
2. After the Duisburg Regional Court (Landgericht Duisburg) denied a temporary injunction that Lady Forbes had requested to require Mrs. Kürten and her husband to immediately hand over the horses (as well as their equine passports) an appeal was lodged with the Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf (Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf).
In the hearing that took place on 6 April 2011, the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court made it clear from the start that it would overturn the incorrect decision by the Duisburg Regional Court and order Mr. and Mrs. Kürten and Sporthorses International Ltd. to return the horses to their owner, Lady Forbes. Contrary to the view taken by the Duisburg Regional Court, the Higher Regional Court stated that there was indeed urgency, because the horses’ well-being depended on their being immediately taken from Mr. and Mrs. Kürten and Sporthorses International Ltd. and returned to their owner. In making this decision, the Higher Regional Court did not even take into account the information that had come to light subsequent to the decision by the Duisburg Regional Court, according to which there was at the very least considerable doubt as to whether the horses had been properly treated, not only in general terms but also medically. The Higher Regional Court went on to express its conviction that Lady Forbes had a right to the return of the horses, these being her property, whereas it had not been convinced that the demands of Mr. and Mrs. Kürten and Sporthorses International Ltd. were justified. The court therefore announced that it would issue a ruling requiring the return of the horses against the payment of a deposit.
It cannot even be concluded from this – contrary to what Mrs. Kürten claimed in her press statement – that the court considered the demands of Mr. and Mrs. Kürten and Sporthorses International Ltd. to be plausible, because it is common practice in connection with petitions for temporary court orders to require the payment of a deposit and because in this case a tentative decision is involved. In the view of the Higher Regional Court, however, considering the doubts surrounding the legitimacy of the claims presented by Mr. and Mrs. Kürten and Sporthorses International Ltd., the deposit could only amount to a fraction of the alleged claim. The Higher Regional Court therefore suggested that the parties agree to an arrangement under which Mr. and Mrs. Kürten commit themselves to surrender the horses to Lady Forbes against security in the amount of € 300,000.00.
3. Lady Forbes agreed to the arrangement proposed by the court, since she fully achieved the goal she had pursued by initiating the proceedings for a temporary injunction, namely to recover as quickly as possible the horses that belonged to her but had been illegally withheld pending – as demanded by Mr. and Mrs. Kürten and Sporthorses International Ltd. – payments for which there are no legal grounds and that might not be refunded to her.
4. Mr. and Mrs. Kürten and Sporthorses International Ltd. have not yet pursued their alleged claims in a court of law. Under the terms of the agreed-on arrangement, the bank deposit will lapse as soon as it is determined in the suit filed by Lady Forbes whether or not she owes anything to Mr. and Mrs. Kürten and Sporthorses International Ltd. and, if so, how much. At issue in the suit is also, unlike the petition for a temporary court order, the return of the certificate of ownership of a horse belonging to Lady Forbes, which had been arbitrarily refused by Mr. Kürten.
WoSJ is presently not familiar with any comments from Kürten to the above press statement from Lady Forbes.
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