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Update on Second Contender Farms Lawsuit



On September 6, 2016, in the Contender Farms II lawsuit, the Magistrate ruled that the USDA's motion to sever the claims of SHOW from the claims of Contender Farms into two lawsuits should be denied. The USDA has until September 20, 2016, to appeal this to the district court. Magistrate's decisions are usually affirmed and are only reversed for a clear error.

The Magistrate also granted Plaintiffs permission to file a Second Amended Complaint, which the clerk filed. Since there have been significant developments in the law and changes in the facts, a Third Amended Complaint will be filed. The Magistrate did not decide the Plaintiffs motions to compel production of documents responsive to the first and second requests for production of documents.

This lawsuit was filed complaining of 18 lists the USDA published that identified people as violators of the Horse Protection Act, where those identified had not been lawfully determined to have violated the Act under the statutory procedures established by Congress. Seventeen of these lists have been removed from the USDA website. In August 2016, the HIO Penalty Lists were removed.

Whether the present unavailability of the lists is permanent or not is a matter about which the attorneys are inquiring. If the lists have been removed and will not be reinstated, it will affect future proceedings.

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