Horse Racing

The fifth circuit once again knocks out HISA, FTC

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on January 31 flatly denied a request by the Equestrian Integrity and Safety Authority and the Federal Trade Commission to block the appeals court’s ruling that HISA on basically unconstitutional.

After the adverse ruling made by Circuit 5 in November, HISA and the FTC had an opportunity to seek relief when Congress amended the Equestrian Integrity and Safety Act to give the FTC more more authority over HISA regulation and enforcement in an effort to respond to Fifth Circuit objections to the original law.

After the amendment was signed into law, HISA and the FTC asked the panel to annul its ruling and hold a rehearing. The fifth board is not moved.

“The board’s motion to rescind the opinion was denied,” the board wrote in a similar two-paragraph order in a pair of HISA challenge cases originally brought in federal district courts in California. Texas and Louisiana. “The motion for a rehearing by the panel is denied. The case is referred to the district court for further proceedings. Any further appeals will be with this board. The committee will issue it. right away.”

The orders mean that the Fifth Circuit will not change its position at this time according to the statutory amendment.

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Tuesday’s decision also means a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of HISA rules issued by a federal district court in Louisiana, a ban that was partially upheld by the 5th Circuit until announced. HISA was unconstitutional in November, still in full effect. The ban imposed HISA rules in Louisiana and West Virginia. HISA has not entered the horse racing business in the two states since the November ruling.

The Texas case was brought up by the National Horsemen’s Protection and Benevolence Association and its state affiliates. The federal district court for the Northern District of Texas ruled HISA constitutional, but the ruling was overturned by the Fifth Circuit.

The lawsuit brought by Louisiana, West Virginia and elsewhere in the Western District of Louisiana alleges violations of the Administrative Procedure Act. That litigation was cut short when the Fifth Circuit ruled on the Texas-origin lawsuit, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Louisiana case proceed. It challenges HISA on a different basis from what was asserted in the Texas case.

Another case challenging HISA is pending in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. A lawsuit brought by the state of Oklahoma and other states in federal court in the Eastern District of Kentucky was denied and appealed. The sixth court is expected to issue a ruling in due course.

A spokesperson for HISA told BloodHorse, “Following a recent amendment by Congress and no comments on the newly revised HISA law, the Fifth Circuit has sent the case back to district court. Outside of Louisiana and West Virginia, the Agency will continue to implement the Track Safety Program and prepare to implement the Drug Control and Anti-Doping Program on March 27, 2020. bear Federal Trade Commission approval of the rules.”

“We see this as additional strong evidence of valid concerns that we have long raised, and this should remind everyone that it is constitutional,” said HBPA National Executive Director Eric Hamelback. not an option”. “We’ve made it very clear that the so-called fix in a sentence included in the congressional year-end spending bill does not address all of the legal questions created in legislation for Licensed by HISA Corporation.

“With that said, it is extremely gratifying that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the HISA consortium’s proposal to rescind the Court of Appeal’s initial unanimous opinion that the Integrity Act and the safety of Horseracing is illegal….

“To be clear, absolutely nothing has changed in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals since the FTC initially rejected these rules and the FTC must wait for the outcome of the ongoing litigation to be resolved. Along with a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators and Representatives, we believe the FTC must reject these again based on unconstitutional uncertainty.”

The cases will now be referred back to the respective federal district courts for further processing, including review of amendments to HISA, making it difficult for the US Supreme Court to be ruled by any party. which requires intervention at this time. In the words of the Fifth Circuit orders issued today, “Any further appeals shall be addressed to this board.”

–Byron King also contributed to this story.


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