HORSE TRAINER FLOUTS COURT ORDERED SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE
Cheating the System & Victims
by John Dolan
Background: Monty Roberts is engaged in a lawsuit where he is being sued for fraud and breach of contract. A couple owning a mustang brought their horse to Monty Roberts for training. The horse was sent home from a six-month stay at Roberts' facility and returned to the owners as a trained horse consistent with their stated goals. Soon after its return home, the horse trampled one of its owners nearly to death.
Monty Roberts (under sworn deposition) and his representatives finally admitted that the horse had not, in fact, received the promised training.
These are the basic facts of the case. And the case is presently being heard in Santa Maria, California Supreme Court.
Update: Prior to a March trial date, the judge in the case ordered the parties to participate in a settlement conference, a common practice to see if the parties can negotiate a settlement to their differences so that a case does not have to proceed to trial. The conference was held on Wednesday, February 23, 2000.
Both parties agreed to certain stipulations regarding the conference. However, it has been learned by this reporter, that Monty Roberts breached that agreement on two counts within two days of making it.
Count 1: Monty Roberts insisted he would not proceed with the court ordered settlement conference unless the conference was held without either party's attorneys present (they were asked to leave the room) and also that the conference be audio-taped. At the conclusion of the conference the audio tapes were supposed to be immediately sealed and sent to the judge from the location of the conference and then be held under seal by the court. Instead, the tapes somehow managed to be retained by Monty Roberts' attorney for 24 hours before he eventually sent them on to the judge. This was in direct violation to what Monty Roberts' victims had agreed to. And so the question arises: did tape tampering occur?
Count 2: Shortly after the trampling incident Monty Roberts lead the couple to believe that he would pay the injured woman's medical bills yet at the same time he was talking to them, he contacted the police claiming that the injured party was trying to extort money from him. Concerned that this might happen a second time, the couple elicited a promise from Monty Roberts that this would not happen again if the subject of money came up as it naturally does in lawsuits. Monty Roberts and his co-defendant (his own son Marty Roberts) swore they had no intention reiterating their 'mistake'..
Just two days after that promise, Monty Roberts telephoned a witness to the injury, accused the witness of acting in concert with the injured party and said he was preparing a lawsuit for extortion against all of them.
Now knowing that Monty Roberts breached the agreement made during a good-faith settlement conference that had been ordered by the court, the victims said they felt betrayed once again.
Monty Roberts obviously holds rules and promises in the same regard. Both are made to be broken.
More details will be coming soon on these other disturbing issues which also came to light re: Monty Roberts:
1. Admission to what this reporter believes would be a terrible Misuse of Nonprofit/Charitable Funds
2. Admission to Negligence with regard to the proper care of mustangs on his farm
3. Admission that he is broke and that his farm is in great debt.
4. His accusation that an attorney who is also a council member in his district is a liar out to get him because she refuted a story he told in his book.
5. His accusation that his relatives who wrote the counter book Horse Whispers and Lies are out to destroy him for money
6. His great praise for his victims
It is the belief of this reporter that Monty Roberts has shot himself in the foot again. And his own son, Marty, helped pull the trigger.
This reporter's personal note: It's really a shame that so many talented people have wasted so much energy in this dispute. If only Monty had taken his brother's advice when Monty asked him - 'how can I make all this go away?' and his brother said 'just tell the truth.'