Plaintiffs in Louisiana Lawsuit Make Case for Allowing Amended Complaint

The plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit spearheaded by the state of Louisiana against the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) Authority and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fired the latest salvo Monday, arguing in a filing that the judge should not accede to the defendants’ request to strike a recently amended version of the complaint that expands the slate of plaintiffs by letting new entities join the case.

“Defendants suggest that Plaintiffs engage in something sinister by seeking amendment to request expanded relief,” stated the Mar. 27 memorandum filed in United States District Court (Western District of Louisiana). “But parties across the country routinely amend to seek expanded relief without issue.”

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 (HBPA) affiliates, plus a wide swath of states, racing commissions, and individual racetracks.

Then, in a Mar. 6 motion, the HISA defendants asked the judge to strike that amended complaint on the basis that adding a “vast number” of organizations and states as new plaintiffs constituted an allegedly “blatant attempt” at “gamesmanship” and “shotgun” litigation.

The plaintiffs’ Mar. 27 filing disputed those characterizations and argued for the amended complaint to proceed.

“Defendants’ motion is unwarranted and amendment is proper as a matter of right at this early stage in the case,” the plaintiffs’ filing stated.

“Leave to amend is also proper to allow parties who have been waiting for months to participate in this litigation to seek redress. [The amended version] both addresses HISA rules approved after Plaintiffs filed the initial complaint and adds more parties who have suffered harm from those rules,” the memorandum stated.

“Procedural squabbles aside, [the HISA Authority’s] unlawful regulations pose a litany of issues requiring redress,” the plaintiffs stated.

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