'Hatfields & McCoys' Actor Sues Claiming Horse Neglect Led to Injury

Thomas McKay, who played Jim McCoy, says he was wasn't properly trained and was made to ride a sick horse that threw him while on location in Romania -- then the insurers stopped paying medical bills.
The History Channel

Actor Thomas McKay, who played Jim McCoy in the 2012 History Channel miniseries Hatfields & McCoys, filed a lawsuit Friday in L.A. Superior Court claiming the show's producers acted with reckless misconduct and negligence during the production, resulting in his suffering serious injuries.

McKay says he witnessed “repeated abuses of the horses” on the production, and was informed by other employees the horses were not being properly cared for.

The suit names Hatfields & McCoys Productions, producer Thinkfactory Media and two insurance carriers, One Beacon America and ACE USA. It also alleges breach of contract, fraud and deceit, and that McKay suffered infliction of emotional distress. 

The suit specifically mentions those supervising the production such as director Kevin Reynolds, producer Leslie Grief, first assistant director Chris Landry, and others.

McKay, according to the suit, was hired in August 2011 and was sent to the location in Romania. He was informed upon his arrival he would have to ride a horse, but says he was provided with “minimal instruction or training.” The actor says he was told by Reynolds to ride a horse, but during the course of production in the Snagov Forest, the animal became uncontrollable and appeared unfit to ride. Still, says the suit, he was directed to continue to ride the horse.

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The suit claims the horse had visible injuries to the head and face, but claims McKay was told to keep riding the animal. As a result, says the suit, the “horse became uncontrollable again during filming of a scene, bolted, and subsequently threw [McKay] into a tree, resulting in serious and permanent injuries and harm.”

The suit does not specify the nature of the injuries. 

The suit claims the two insurance companies at first paid out to cover medical bills and related matters, but then began to stall and finally stopped making payments. The suit also says the production intentionally failed to secure workers compensation insurance.

There was no comment from Thinkfactory and no immediate response to email requests for comment from One Beacon America insurance or ACE USA insurance.