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California Members Sue TWHBEA

Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association (TWHBEA) has been sued by a number of members from California over the vote they requested to remove Christy Lantis as a director from California.  Fran Cole, Kristin Herman, Julia Tarnawski, and Jackie Barton are the members from California bringing the suit.

The basis for the suit is the requirement for California members to travel to the TWHBEA headquarters in Lewisburg, Tenn. to vote on February 3, 2014 on the removal of Lantis.  The plaintiffs are using the American With Disabilities Act, California Unruh Civil Rights Act, Tennessee statutes and the TWHBEA bylaws in their lawsuit.

Although Lantis won election in November 2011 by a margin of 61-18, the plaintiffs suggest that she does not represent the views of her California constituents and thus should be removed.  The plaintiffs had the required 20% of the California members sign a petition calling for the vote on her removal.  Lantis has been an avid supporter of all disciplines of the Tennessee Walking Horse and because one of those disciplines is the performance horse, those California members want her removed.

Lantis has been opposed to the PAST Act, introduced by Congressman Whitfield since he introduced it because of its devastating impacts to the show horse.  The plaintiffs support the PAST Act and claim a majority of California TWHBEA members do as well.  The plaintiffs use an unauthorized push poll conducted by a TWHBEA member as cause for that belief.

TWHBEA has publicly stated that the poll results don’t reflect the views of the Association and at its annual elections those candidates opposing the PAST Act won by 3 to 1 margins in most cases.  The International Board of Directors of TWHBEA also overwhelmingly voted to oppose the PAST Act leaving no doubt that the leadership of TWHBEA opposes the passage of the PAST Act.

TWHBEA Senior Vice President Walt Chism, who is also a past President of TWHBEA recently commented on the Lantis situation.  “We have and will continue to comply fully with the Tennessee law and our bylaws and have repeatedly confirmed the process with our legal counsel.  Our responsibility is to make sure both the party requesting the special meeting and the party they seek to remove have fair process under the Tennessee law,” concluded Chism.

To view the entire complaint Click Here.

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