10/18/2012 2:31PM

Judge dismisses Gill lawsuit against Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission


A U.S. District Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the former racehorse owner Michael Gill and his trainer Anthony Adamo against the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission that challenged the pair’s ejection from Penn National Race Course in 2010.

In a judgment signed Oct. 16, Judge Sylvia H. Rambo said that the case should be dismissed because the employees of the racing commission were entitled to “qualified immunity” in seeking to uphold Penn National’s decision to eject Gill and Adamo after jockeys at the track threatened to boycott any races in which Gill’s horses were entered. Rambo also ruled against a claim by Gill that his due-process rights were violated on the grounds that Gill failed to appeal his ejection before the commission.

“Not only did Gill have due process procedures available to him, but he voluntarily chose not to avail himself of those procedures,” Rambo wrote. “Under these circumstances, it strains credulity that Gill’s procedural due process rights were violated.”

Gill, a former leading owner, sold all of his racing stock after the ejection. He has alleged that Penn National’s management and horsemen at the track conspired against him because of his success there.

Alan Pincus, Gill’s attorney, said on Thursday that he might file an appeal of the ruling.

“We’re looking at our options,” Pincus said. “The opinion granted them immunity, but we don’t think immunity applies.”

The racing commission’s attorneys raised the issue of immunity during hearings on the matter earlier this year.

Pincus also reiterated that he believed that Gill had been unfairly treated by the track and racing commission.

“You can’t find a single case in history where a licensee has been punished when there hasn’t been any probable cause that the licensee has done something wrong,” Pincus said.