A Florida judge presiding over a suit against Canadian Olympic show jumper Eric Lamaze has issued a default judgment against Lamaze. The judge found that Lamaze owes just under $1.4 million to the former co-owners of a horse that competed in the 2023 Pan American Games (Chile).
Lorna Guthrie and Jeffrey Brandmaier, the former co-owners of Nikka VD Bisschop, sued Lamaze in January for fraud, breach of contract, and breaking Florida law, claiming he owes them nearly $1.4 million related to the purchase and sale of that horse and another. After Lamaze’s medical documents related to his purported cancer were deemed fake in a separate case in Canada, Guthrie and Brandmaier filed a motion in September requesting the former show jumper and his attorney be sanctioned and asked that the court find in their favor.
Judge Maxine Cheesman issued a default judgment on Nov. 13, after Lamaze, who participated in the emergency hearing she called after the fraudulent documents were revealed, failed to file a response to Guthrie and Brandmaier’s motion to strike.
Judge Cheesman found that Lamaze was provided “full and fair opportunity to contest the Motion to Strike or provide any grounds why the motion should be denied … [and] failed to file a written response to the Motion to Strike or to present any reasons why the relief sought in the Motion, including the striking of their pleadings and the entry of default and default final judgment should not be granted.”
The judgment requires Lamaze to pay $1,390,189.44, which includes the initial cost of the two horses involved in the case as well as interest. Lamaze is also responsible for the plaintiffs’ attorney fees and court costs.
While the judgment brings some closure to Guthrie and Brandmaier’s case against Lamaze, the Rein family, who currently own Nikka VD Bisschop, have filed a counterclaim against him for fraudulent inducement, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act related to how Lamaze allegedly misrepresented Guthrie and Brandmaier’s ownership interest in the horse when selling her to the Reins. The Reins, who previously were drawn into the suit, reached a confidential settlement with Guthrie and Brandmaier in September that resolved all claims and counterclaims between them.
According to the most recent court records, the Rein family has requested a jury trial to decide that issue.