A shocking and sad chapter in Eric Lamaze’s career unfolded in an Ontario court this summer. A Justice of the Ontario Superior Court has found that the 2008 Show Jumping Individual Olympic gold medalist fraudulently submitted forged medical documents to the court.
In 2010, Iron Horse Farm Inc., a family-owned stable operated by Karina Aziz, filed a $500,000 lawsuit against Eric Lamaze and his Torrey Pines Stable over three horses that Lamaze sold to Iron Horse for Karina to compete. Iron Horse claims that the three horses were not of the quality represented to it by Lamaze, who denies the allegations.
Though the horse sale case is ongoing and has had several delays over the years, the case was heard on a number of occasions this year by the Ontario Superior Court. Lamaze’s long-time defence attorney, Tim Danson, filed a motion on July 12th to further delay proceedings due to Lamaze’s ongoing medical issues as a result of his brain cancer. At the time, Danson filed an affidavit from a lawyer at his firm stating that Lamaze’s cancer had spread to his throat. Though no medical reports were filed, photos were provided that were graphically showed Lamaze’s disfigured face after brain surgery.
Iron Horse’s counsel, Jerome Morse, did not accept the affidavit in light of the fact that Lamaze had made similar claims in early 2019 but was later found to have competed successfully at the Winter Equestrian Festival. On July 25th, Danson was provided an unaddressed medical report dated April 5th that had been forwarded to him by a representative of Lamaze.
“It was purportedly written in Dutch by Dr. Oulad Taib, a neurosurgeon at the Chirec Cancer Institute in Brussels, Belgium,” according to court files on the case. “Suspicion was aroused because the website of the Chirec Cancer Institute describes the doctor as “Dr. Nordenyn Oulad Ben Taib”. Further, the Chirac website lists Dr. Ben Taib’s spoken languages as French, English and Arabic, not Dutch. There was also concern that the address on the report was incorrect.”
The court found the document to be incongruous, questionable and vague along with two other similar reports submitted by Danson. As a result of the questions raised by the documents, the court directed Danson to produce current medical reports.
On August 9th, Danson produced another report, ostensibly from “Dr. Benoit Pirotte” on what looks to be Chirec Cancer Institute letterhead and dated August 2, 2023. The letter says that Lamaze “was diagnosed with a brain tumor called glioblastomas in 2017 and has been under our care since this diagnosis.” The letter also claims that Lamaze was diagnosed with laryngeal throat cancer in March 2023 and had surgery to remove parts of the tumor and that further surgery would be required. Additionally, the letter says that he was scheduled for a craniotomy on August 11th which might take him a year or more to recover from.
By August 11th, Iron Horse counsel presented the court a signed report from a licenced Belgian private detective. The investigator had visited the Chirec Delta Hospital in Belgium and spoke with Dr. Oulad Ben Taib who confirmed that the signature on the document was not his and referred him to the hospital’s legal department. The hospital’s in-house council subsequently confirmed in a written statement that “The documents on Chirec Cancer Institute’s letterhead which are in your possession are fraudulent.” The hospital’s statement also includes a note from Dr. Pirotte stating that the letter is a fake and that he has no memory of Lamaze.
Subsequently, on August 28th Danson made a motion to remove himself from being the counsel of record for Lamaze on the basis that there has been a “breakdown in communications between counsel and their client” and that a “conflict of interest now exists between counsel and their client.”
In a final presentation to the court on September 5th, Danson noted that “Eric is very sick, but maybe not with cancer.”
Justice Marvin Kurz had previously dismissed Lamaze’s request to adjourn and wrote, ”Mr Lamaze attempted to perpetrate a fraud on the court by filing three forged letters, which falsely purport to be medical reports regarding Mr. Lamaze’s dire medical condition. Mr. Morse argues that if that fraud were not sufficiently egregious, Mr. Lamaze feigned end-stage cancer, which is an insult to all who have suffered from that dreaded malady. He did so only to avoid a “day of reckoning” in an action that was commenced more than ten years ago but has yet to reach trial.”
Lamaze has been ordered to pay $32,400 to cover Iron Horse’s cost for the July motion to adjourn. If Lamaze does not pay the amount by September 29th and find a new attorney to represent Torrey Pines by the October 9th trial date, the Iron Horse pleadings will be “struck”. This direction from the Justice means that if Lamaze fails to pay or find a lawyer, he will have admitted the allegations by default, though Iron Horse will still have to prove to the court the amount of the damages.
Similarly, as the case is also against Lamaze personally, he will need to find a lawyer to represent him or do so himself (an option not available to a corporation) or he will also be admitting the allegations by default.
Lamaze is currently being sued by several other parties including Robert Chad and his Stone Ridge Farm, as well as Muffie Guthrie. Chad’s complaint alleges that Lamaze didn’t faithfully execute a partnership agreement and has failed to account for $1,000,000, and also a complaint by Stone Ridge for a horse deal gone horribly wrong. Guthrie’s complaint states that Lamaze deceived her about the purchase of investment horses Newberry Balia NL and Nikka VD Bisschop and withheld the proceeds of their sale. These cases are ongoing.
Lamaze was contacted for this story but declined to comment.