Skip to content

Contender Farms and SHOW Seek Recovery of Fees From USDA



The Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) authorizes district courts to award reasonable attorneys’ fees and expenses to a prevailing party in a lawsuit against a government agency.  Contender Farms and Mike McGartland recently won an appeal in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversing an earlier decision by Judge Terry Means in United States District Court in July 2013 regarding the USDA’s Minimum Penalty Protocol.

In a unanimous decision in February 2015, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Circuit found that the mandatory penalty regulation is not a valid application of USDA regulatory authority  and accordingly reversed and vacated the judgment.  As a result, in April 2015 Judge Terry Means, in accordance with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, granted summary judgment to SHOW HIO, Contender Farms and Mike McGartland.

The application seeking the fees under EAJA must allege that the “position of the United States was not substantially justified.”  Underlying the lawsuit was one dominant legal issue; by what authority could the USDA create a liability and enforcement scheme different from the one Congress established in the HPA.  In its decision, the Fifth Circuit held that HPA §1823 and §1828 not only do not authorize the USDA to adopt the Regulation, but went further, holding that the clear language of the HPA prohibited the agency from adopting a private-party enforcement scheme different from the enforcement provisions Congress previously adopted.

The motion filed seeks recovery of fees at a minimum level of $349,749 to a maximum level of $489,500 plus expenses of $980.  SHOW HIO, Contender Farms and Mike McGartland requested the court order the government to pay the higher award in the filed motion.

Click here to view the motion filed in the United States District Court Northern District of Texas
Click here to view the brief filed supporting the application for fees
 

More Stories

  • Equine Obituary - A Strong Need For Cash

    The Report has recently learned of the passing of world grand champion A Strong Need For Cash. The bay pony was owned and loved by Jim and Jeannie Roberts... Read More
  • SCWHA Championship selects judging panel

    The South Carolina Walking Horse Association Championship, slotted for October 27-28, 2017, has selected Mike Conley, Newton Parks and Jackie Barron to mark the cards for this year's event. The show will be held at T. Ed Garrison Arena in Clemson, South Carolina... Read More
  • Sarah re-enters show scene

    She’s baaaack — back in the saddle, that is. Sarah (Coffee) Burks has re-entered the walking horse industry after a 34 year-absence — in a big way. After her three-decade hiatus, she has purchased four horses in the past month. Read More
  • Walking For Angels adds class

    The Walking For Angels show, scheduled November 11, 2017, has added a class to their original schedule. Class 24A will be Amateur Canter.  Read More
  • The National results available online

    Complete results from The National are available for viewing online; however, they will not be printed in the October 23, 2017 edition of The Walking Horse Report. Read More
  • Regional Leaders Visit Horse Country

    Members of the Gattis Regional Leadership group, which represents 13 counties in South Central Tennessee, toured Bedford County Oct. 12 and 13. Gattis aims toward helping leaders of these counties learn from and work with each other, as well as further develop their skills as leaders... Read More
  • Obituary - Eula Mae Maack

    Long time walking horse enthusiast, Eula Mae Maack, age 77, passed away at her home in Goodson on October 16, 2017... Read More
  • Equine Obituary - Silverado Spirit

    World Grand Champion, Silverado Spirit was laid to rest earlier this week. The great show mare was most recently shown by Harper Grider of Columbia, Kentucky. She and Harper won the Youth 11 & Under Mare class in 2015 and were reserve world champions in 2016 in that division.  Read More
  • Obituary - Judith Anne "Judy" Rockhold

    Mrs. Judith Anne' "Judy" Rockhold, age 83, of Naples, Florida, (formerly, Shelbyville, Tennessee) passed from this life on Friday, September 22, 2017. Judy was avid Horsewoman and active in the Walking Horse Industry several years ago... Read More
  • Walking For Angels releases class schedule

    The Walking For Angels Show, scheduled for November 11, 2017, has released their class schedule. The show will be held in Calsonic arena with Johnny Puckett serving as the judge for this year's event.  Read More