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Llama litigation likely to continue
Cumming couple at center of 4-year feud
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Forsyth County News
The legal feud between the owners of a local llama farm and a Wilkes County woman may not be over.

The news comes on the heels of a Forsyth County jury’s ruling Friday in favor of Ken and Kathy Smalley, who run Dixie Doodle Llama Farm on Hurt Bridge Road.

Vicki Lynn Moses of Washington filed suit against the Smalleys after the babies of two llamas she bought from them in 2001 were born with a birth defect and had to be put down.

The defect, known as wry face, contorts the animal’s jaw.

Attorney Larry Ballew, who represented the Smalleys, said the case was “frivolous.”

“What they were asking for was all their money back on the llamas, all the money for babies that weren’t born yet — which is clearly not allowed by the law — and just everything they could think of, plus attorney’s fees which ran the bill up well over $200,000,” Ballew said.

“The two llamas cost $3,500 and $3,800, so they were way off base.”

He said the Smalleys plan to seek attorney’s fees.

Moses’ attorney, Stephen Wright, is considering appealing the jury’s verdict. He said he spoke with jurors after the week-long Superior Court trial ended.

“The jury was attentive, but I don’t think they really understood the burden of proof and how that related to the scientific evidence in front of them,” Wright said, adding that jurors wanted 100 percent certainty before ruling in Moses’ favor.

He said evidence in the case involved research by leading scientists from across the country, including a Colorado State University breeding study, and that wry face is a rare condition.

Wright said the case, which originated in small claims court, was in litigation for four years.

Ballew said a jury ruling against the Smalleys could’ve set a precedent that “would’ve wreaked havoc on the livestock industry.”

There is one thing both attorneys agreed on — the case was unusual.

 “It’s not every day that you try a case with llamas as the main character,” Ballew said.

E-mail Julie Arrington at