Texas Federal Judge Won't Grant Briefing Stay to HISA

Getty Images


Facing a United States Court of Appeals decision from the Fifth Circuit that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) is unconstitutional and battling three similar lawsuits in various stages within the federal court system, the HISA Authority and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) were informed Monday that a U.S. District Court judge in Texas won't grant those defendants a requested stay that would halt the briefing schedule in that case pending a final resolution of the Fifth Circuit order.

“No Good Cause Exists to Stay This Action,” wrote U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk (Northern District of Texas, Amarillo Division) in his Dec. 12 order. “This is not one of the 'rare' circumstances in which Plaintiffs should be compelled to stand aside while Defendants litigate another case. Defendants make no showing of 'hardship or inequity' in complying with the briefing schedule they previously agreed to. Defendants were already aware of the then-pending appeal in [the Fifth Circuit] when they agreed to the schedule.

“The Court recognizes that the Fifth Circuit's decision [declaring HISA unconstitutional] could moot this challenge or clarify some of the issues,” the judge continued. “But Plaintiffs advance seven distinct constitutional challenges to HISA-including the nondelegation doctrine. Plaintiffs argue HISA violates the doctrine on three alternate bases. [The Fifth Circuit decision] considered only one of those bases. Thus, the Court does not anticipate that the final resolution of [the Fifth Circuit decision] will necessarily clarify the issues in this case by much.

“Additionally, Defendants are considering whether they will petition for a writ of certiorari before the Supreme Court. Hence, it could be months or even years before [the Fifth Circuit decision] reaches finality. Until then, a stay could unfairly harm Plaintiffs because [that order] only binds the parties in that case,” the judge wrote.

The judge did, however, give the HISA Authority 60 days of extra time by mandating a revised briefing schedule that now calls for the HISA and FTC defendants to file their combined responses to the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on or before Mar. 6, 2023, which in effect grants the defendants' motion in part.

The plaintiffs in the case are Global Gaming LSP, a limited liability company that owns Lone Star Park; Gulf Coast Racing LLC, the owner of a greyhound track in Nueces County, and both LRP Group Ltd. and Valle De Los Tesoros, which are two limited partnerships separately looking to operate new horse tracks in south Texas. They collectively filed their suit July 29, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief and a preliminary injunction against HISA.

The Fifth Circuit suit was initiated by the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (NHPBA) back in 2021. That case was dismissed by a federal judge Mar. 31, 2022, but the Fifth Circuit reversed that decision Nov. 18.

That NHBPA lawsuit is separate from a similar 2021 anti-HISA complaint, again over alleged constitutional issues, headed by racing commissions and attorneys general in Oklahoma and West Virginia. That case, too, was dismissed by a federal judge on June 3, 2022, but the plaintiffs appealed the decision to the Sixth Circuit, which heard arguments on reversing that decision Dec. 7.

A fourth lawsuit, in which both HISA and the FTC are defendants in a complaint initiated by the states of Louisiana and West Virginia, plus the Jockeys' Guild, alleges unconstitutionality and federal rulemaking procedure violations regarding HISA's initial framework of regulations that went into effect July 1. According to the electronic court docket, there has been no filing activity in that case since Sept. 7.

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.

Copy Article Link

Liked this article? Read more like this.

  1. My Goal Is To Get The System “Back Up And Running”: Q&A With UK Lab's Cynthia Cole
  2. Weekly Stewards and Commissions Rulings, Apr. 10-17
  3. Schoenthal Meth Case Resolved With 15-Day Suspension
  4. HISA Announces Next Generation Advisory Group Membership
  5. Weaver Trained Horse Tests Positive for Metformin

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.