08/26/2013 10:15AM

Judge rules against AQHA in cloning lawsuit


U.S. District Court Judge Mary Lou Robinson issued a final ruling in favor of plaintiffs Jason Abraham and Gregg Veneklasen in an antitrust lawsuit against the American Quarter Horse Association, which now requires the breed registry to register clones and their offspring.

The ruling upheld a jury’s decision in favor of Abraham and Veneklasen on July 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The plaintiffs filed an anti-trust suit against the AQHA after the organization denied registry to at least eight cloned horses belonging to Abraham.

In addition to the injunction to allow cloning in the AQHA registry, Robinson awarded the plaintiffs close to $900,000 in attorney fees, but did not award damages, of which the plaintiffs sought $5.7 million.

In response, the AQHA will file a motion to stay the enforcement of the judgment, pending an appeal by the organization. The AQHA will also request the court enter a take nothing judgment in favor of the Quarter Horse group based upon their contention that the jury’s verdict was not supported by the evidence entered at trial.

If the latter motion is denied, the AQHA will proceed by filing a notice of appeal, taking the case to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, La.

“Although the jury’s verdict found that our association’s decision to refuse to register clones and their offspring was in violation of antitrust laws, we strongly believe in the right of our members and our directors to make such registration decisions on their own. We also believe in this case that there has been no violation of antitrust law,” said AQHA Executive Vice President Don Treadway. “Therefore, AQHA will continue to take any and all necessary legal steps in seeking to have the final judgment entered by the court in favor of the plaintiffs reversed.”