Fifth Circuit Rules No `Emergency' Status in States Vs. HISA Case

The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that it won't treat a request made by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) Authority to vacate a recent panel opinion and reinstate a stay pending appeal as an “emergency” that requires an expedited decision.

The decision involves a lawsuit under appeal brought by the states of Louisiana and West Virginia, plus other “covered persons” under HISA, alleging unconstitutionality and federal rulemaking procedure violations.

(Note: An earlier version of this story misidentified the plaintiff in the case. The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and its affiliates are not party to this decision; they are plaintiffs in a separate lawsuit. TDN regrets the error.)

Instead, the court ruled that the case would proceed under the court's standard timetable, which gives the NHBPA and its 12 affiliates 10 days to file a response to HISA's motion.

“The district court's order preliminarily enjoining enforcement in Louisiana and West Virginia of all then-existing rules promulgated under HISA directly undermines Congress's goal of providing for uniform regulations to protect horseracing participants (equine and human) and restore integrity to the sport nationwide,” the HISA filing from Jan. 3 stated.

“This Court appropriately stayed that order, finding that each of 'the stay elements are met' with respect to the district court's (manifestly flawed) conclusion that the Administrative Procedure Act forecloses the fourteen-day notice period the FTC formally provided…

“The stay pending appeal was necessary to 'allow [the Court] to bring 'considered judgment' to the matter before [it] and 'responsibly fulfill [its] role in the judicial process.' Yet the panel's subsequent decision to remand the case and lift the stay short-circuits that process, not based on the merits of the district court's order-which have never been adjudicated-but on the sole ground that a panel in a 'separate cases held that 'HISA is facially unconstitutional.'”

The HISA filing summed up: “This Court should vacate its panel opinion and judgment, and reinstate the Court's stay pending further adjudication of this appeal…. The Court should grant [a] panel rehearing and reverse the district court's grant of a preliminary injunction.”

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