HISA Authority: Plaintiffs In La Lawsuit Have ‘No Right’ to Add New Parties

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) Authority reiterated to a judge on Monday a belief that the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit spearheaded by the state of Louisiana have “no right” to expand the scope of their complaint by letting new entities join the nine-month-old case in United States District Court (Western District of Louisiana).

“Plaintiffs characterize their joinder of new parties as a ‘routine amendment,’” the Apr. 3 court filing stated. “But they do not dispute that the purpose of their amendment is to transform the preliminary injunction already in force in Louisiana and West Virginia into a nationwide injunction by adding a ‘broad collection’ of new plaintiffs stretching ‘literally from coast-to-coast.’

“Nor do Plaintiffs deny that their recent maneuvering is intended to circumvent the difficult standard that applies to the still pending intervention motion previously filed by these same parties,” the filing continued.

“And they do not contest that had the original Plaintiffs been denied a preliminary injunction, none of the new parties seeking to piggyback on that relief would have joined this suit but instead would have tried their luck elsewhere.

“To the contrary, in a separate challenge in the Northern District of Texas that has been ongoing for two years, many of these same parties conceded that their ‘strategic’ decision to join this suit is motivated by their belief that the original Plaintiffs had found ‘a judge who had previously been generous to those plaintiffs with equitable relief,’” the filing stated.

Back on Feb. 6, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint to their original June 29, 2022, lawsuit, with the chief changes involving the addition of 14 new individual Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association affiliates, plus a wide swath of states, racing commissions, and individual racetracks.

After the defendants moved to strike the amended complaint on Mar. 6, the plaintiffs followed up three weeks later by filing a memorandum in support of allowing the new entities.

“Defendants suggest that Plaintiffs engage in something sinister by seeking amendment to request expanded relief,” the plaintiffs’ Mar. 27 court filing stated. “But parties across the country routinely amend to seek expanded relief without issue.”

The judge in the case has now been supplied with written legal arguments on both sides of the issue, paving the way for a near-future ruling on the defendants’ motion to strike the amended complaint.

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