NYRA Calls Baffert’s Attempt To Collect Legal Fees ‘Premature’

The New York Racing Association has filed a response to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s attempt to collect $162,086 in legal fees, reports the Thoroughbred Daily News, calling the attempt “premature.”

Baffert had requested that the U.S. District Court (Eastern District of New York) order NYRA to pay his attorney’s fees because he is the “prevailing party,” though he has only obtained a preliminary injunction to race at NYRA tracks.

NYRA’s response argues that the $450 to $975 hourly fees Baffert’s lawyers charge are “disproportionately high,” and that Baffert is attempting to take advantage of a legal provision which shouldn’t apply. The provision is designed to “incentivize attorneys to represent individual civil rights plaintiffs that might otherwise be unrepresented,” according to NYRA.

“Plaintiff, the most prominent trainer in Thoroughbred racing, can afford to pay his lawyers and would have brought this action regardless of whether he could obtain an award of attorneys’ fees,” NYRA wrote in the Sept. 27 filing in United States District Court (Eastern District of New York).

NYRA notified Baffert ahead of the Belmont Stakes that it was suspending his ability to enter horses in races or have stall space at its racetracks due to his recent history of medication violations (five over a one-year period), the conflicting statements he provided to media around the Medina Spirit scandal, and Churchill Downs’ suspension of the trainer.

Judge Carol Bagley Amon of the Eastern District of New York determined that NYRA’s suspension of Baffert should not have taken place without some sort of hearing allowing him to address the organization’s accusations against him. Although NYRA was asserting its private property rights in the case, Amon said the organization is closely entwined enough with the state that its suspension of Baffert constituted a state action, thereby requiring due process.

NYRA has since issued a statement of charges against Baffert, and scheduled a hearing for the trainer to begin on Sept. 27.

Read more at the Thoroughbred Daily News.

Additional stories about Baffert’s Kentucky Derby positive and ensuing legal battles can be found here.

The post NYRA Calls Baffert’s Attempt To Collect Legal Fees ‘Premature’ appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.