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November 2019

AVMLA Membership & More
 AVMLA's Member 2020 Drive is in Full Swing


Don't forget your American Veterinary Medical Law Association 
 (AVMLA) membership will expired December 30, 2019

AVMLA is the most cost-effective way to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices for our unique area of veterinary medical law.

Your AVMLA member benefits include quarterly educational webinars, $100 discount on the annual national conference, bi-monthly News Brief and networking with peers through the  AVMLA list-serv, Facebook, and Twitter.  Renew today  and receive these benefits for only $12.50 per month.

We offer several convenient ways to renew your membership:
  • To renew your AVMLA Membership dues, simply renew online, or you are welcome  to download/print/mail your membership app to AVMLA, 1750 K Street, NW, Ste. 700, Washington, DC 20006, email your app, fax (202.449.8560) or give our office a call at 202.449.3818.  
We greatly value your membership and hope AVMLA will continue to be the go-to organization for your professional development.

If you are interested in contributing to the AVMLA News Brief, advertising or posting a help wanted ad, please send an email to
AVMLA Call for 2020 Speakers
2020 AVMLA Annual Continuing Education Conference 
August 1 - 2, 2020, San Diego, CA
Proposal deadline Jan. 30, 2020
AVMLA Member and Annual Speaker
Dr. Mike Murphy

Murphy leading AVMA Division of Animal and Public Health

Mike Murphy,  D.V.M., JD, Ph.D, most recently a veterinary medical officer with the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration, joined the AVMA this past October as director of the Division of Animal and Public Health.

The division is within the AVMA's Public Policy Strategic Business Unit, which also encompasses the Animal Welfare Division and global outreach. As head of the DAPH, Dr. Murphy provides the vision, expertise, and leadership required to plan, develop, implement, and manage Association activities supported by the division.

Dr. Murphy comes to the AVMA after a decade with the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine. He served in the Office of the Director since 2015 helping to handle a variety of issues such as the veterinary feed directive.

During his FDA tenure, Dr. Murphy was the agency's representative to the AVMA's task forces on the model veterinary practice act and antimicrobial stewardship in companion animal practice. He also was a member of the AVMA Judicial Council and the Association's committees on antimicrobials and veterinary specialty organizations.

Prior to joining the FDA, Dr. Murphy was a professor at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. He joined the faculty in 1987 to coordinate the veterinary college's toxicology program, provide diagnostic services, and teach veterinary and graduate students about toxicology. He retired from the university in 2009 as professor emeritus.

Dr. Murphy is a 1981 graduate of the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. He has a doctoral degree in toxicology as well as a law degree,  Dr. Murphy received his J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, MN, in 1999. Dr. Murphy is a diplomate of both the American Board of Veterinary Toxicology and American Board of Toxicology.

"Hopefully, my experience in mixed animal practice, veterinary diagnostic laboratories, academia, and most recently the Center for Veterinary Medicine at FDA can complement the diversity of experience already at AVMA to help advance our profession," Dr. Murphy said.
Ransomware Bites 400 Veterinary Hospitals
National Veterinary Associates (NVA), a California company that owns more than 700 animal care facilities around the globe, is still working to recover from a ransomware attack late last month that affected more than half of those properties, separating many veterinary practices from their patient records, payment systems and practice management software. NVA says it expects to have all facilities fully back up and running normally within the next week.
Case Law Summary
By: John F. Scott, DVM, JD, Scott Veterinary Services

The presentation of court cases involving veterinary medicine is provided as a benefit to all AVMLA members. Our membership consists of both lawyers and veterinarians, some of whom have substantial interest in veterinary law as well as those who are new to the field. Consequently, I try to provide current cases when possible, but will also provide older cases if they consider a basic principle of veterinary law, especially if that principle differs from the law as it is applied to other areas. I encourage your comments on how to make this section better and  also solicit cases you become aware of which might be published in this format. In order to save  research time and expense, if possible please provide a written copy of the entire case in pdf  format. If you only have a cite to a legal reporter, I will try to locate the case and consider it for publication. You may contact me at or telephone 806-231-4678, 
John F. Scott, DVM, JD


Turner v. Sinha, 582 N.E. 2d 1018 (Ct.App. Ohio 1989)
(also 65 Ohio App 3d 30)

Testimony of Plaintiff, Turner:
Turner's Old English Sheepdog, Cadbury, was hit by a car. Turner's was not able to contact her regular veterinarian and took the dog to another clinic where Dr. Sinha, the veterinarian on duty, indicated that x-rays were necessary but could not be taken immediately, and gave Turner an estimate and required a deposit for services. Sinha took two sets of x-rays but could not tell if the dog's back was broken and said that more x-rays were necessary and a further deposit was needed.
Sinha later told Turner that the third set of x-rays were inconclusive and the dog would have to be left overnight. The following morning Turner called the emergency clinic and was told the dog was in a lot of pain but Dr. Sinha was not yet in the office. Turner's regular veterinarian was also not in the office and she called another veterinarian, Dr. Tscheiller. She reported that Cadbury could not stand and his paws were stiff and Dr. Tscheiller told her that the dog's back was broken and the dog should be taken to her regular veterinarian. Shortly afterwards Dr. Sinha called and told Turner the dog's back was not broken. Turner called her regular veterinarian and was told to bring the dog and x-rays with her. She was told by the emergency clinic that she must pay a fee to take the x-rays and must pay the entire bill before the dog would be released. Dr. Sinha and Dr. Cable, an associate of Dr. Sinha, told her the dog's back was not broken. By the time Turner returned home to collect cash and then waited one and one-half hours for the x-rays, her regular veterinarian had left for the day. She called Dr. Tscheiller who agreed to see the dog the following morning. Dr. Tscheiller and his associate studied the x-rays taken at the emergency clinic and found that the dog's entire pelvis had been crushed and there was a fracture further up the spine. They put Cadbury toe sleep and disposed of the body. Turner testified that the dog should have been put to sleep immediately and the charges by Dr. Sinha were needless and excessive.

Testimony of Defendant, Dr. Sinha:
Dr. Sinha testified that he gave Cadbury a physical exam and gave an injection for pain. Since the dog was nursing twelve puppies he had to get information concerning whether the dog was receiving calcium supplements to prevent convulsions. His initial examination indicated possible multiple fractures in the spine, pelvis and hind legs. He told Turner that x-rays were needed to determine the extent of injuries but that the dog was in severe shock and the dog should not be
anesthetized and manipulated for x-rays. Turner insisted that she wanted to know the extent of the injuries so the dog was given pain medication and I.V. fluids. Two hours later x-rays were taken. The first x-rays were not clear due to milk in the mammary glands and a second set was taken which revealed a fracture of the spine and pelvis that did not appear very severe. Dr. Sinha advised Turner the dog might recover and she should take it to her regular veterinarian in the morning. Turner paid the bill and left. The following afternoon when Turner went to pick up her dog she expressed dissatisfaction with the charges and said she had put a stop order on her check. She was told she had to bring cash to pay the entire bill. When she did so she picked up the dog and the x-rays.

The Municipal Court, Small Claims Division, found in favor of Turner and awarded her monetary damages. Dr. Sinha presented two assignments of error for appellate review.

Necessity of expert testimony:

Dr. Sinha argued that even though rules of evidence are relaxed in small claims court, the trial court abused its discretion in allowing hearsay evidence of what other veterinarians said was proper diagnosis in this case. The appellate court found that this case was the type of case for which small claims courts were designed and that formalistic application of hearsay rules would undermine the goals of the "layman's forum." Turner's alternative would have been to subpoena the
veterinarians to court to testify, a requirement that would place an undue burden on her and other small claims litigants similarly situated. Because the rules of evidence are inapplicable in small claims court, there was no error by the trial court in allowing hearsay statements into evidence.

Weight of the evidence:
Dr. Turner argued that the dispute between the parties concerned the correct reading of the x-rays and there was no evidence before the court that he could determine without x-rays that the injuries to the dog's spine were so extensive as to make it necessary to put the dog to sleep immediately. He also contended that there was no evidence that the x-rays should have been taken immediately and without anesthetic, and there was no evidence that indicated that any of the first
series of x-rays showed a fracture. The appellate court found that there was sufficient evidence from which the trier of fact could determine that Dr. Sinha had incorrectly interpreted the x-rays and had failed to diagnose the dog's injuries, things which a veterinarian of ordinary skill and diligence would not have done under similar circumstances. The issue is essentially one of credibility and matters as to the credibility of witnesses are for the trier of fact to decide. Great deference must be given to the findings of fact by the trial court. A reviewing court should not substitute its judgment for that of the trial court.

The judgment or final order of the trial court is affirmed.
Sutton v. Spokane Union Stockyards

Sutton v. Spokane Union Stockyards, 124 Wash. 209 (Wash 1923)


Respondent, Spokane Union Stockyard, conducted a public stockyard handling interstate  business. Pursuant to federal requirements it had provided an immunizing and vaccinating pen for t he treatment of hogs. The stockyard had established a schedule of prices and fees as well as a  provision that "All serum and virus will be administered by Dr. Bernard Johnson, under federal 
supervision."  Appellant, Sutton, is a hog buyer and feeder who brought suit against the stockyard to have that  provision declared unreasonable so that he and yard might  employ a  veterinarian of their own selection to treat their hogs.


The Superior Court entered judgment for defendant, Spokane Union Stockyards. Sutton appealed.


The rule applies to all using the pen, and there is no suggestion that the veterinarian selected by the stockyard is not thoroughly qualified and competent. The stockyard is required to furnish certain reports of work done by the veterinarian and evidence shows that the policy was instituted to facilitate the performance of that duty that a veterinarian selected by the stockyard was chosen. Under the system that prevailed before the adoption of the rule delays and additional expenses were
sometimes incurred through difficulty in locating veterinarians employed by the customers and the rule allows the stockyard will operate more efficiently and satisfactorily with the veterinarian chosen by the stockyard in charge. The present situation may be compared to cases arising under the federal Interstate Commerce Act where it has been held that shippers might be compelled to make use of
the facilities furnished by railroad companies where, under the law, the railroad companies were obliged to furnish such facilities, even though the shipper might prefer to provide the service himself. An examination of the satisfied the trial court, and satisfies this court, that there is nothing unreasonable about this requirement.

The decision of the superior court is affirmed.
AVMLA Membership & More

To renew your AVMLA Membership dues, simply renew  online , or you are welcome  to  download/print/mail your membership app to AVMLA, 1750 K Street, NW, Ste. 700, Washington, DC 20006,  email your app, fax  ( 202.449.8560)  or give our office a call at  202.449.3818.  

If you are interested in contributing to the AVMLA News Brief, advertising or posting a help wanted ad, please send an email to