11/15/2012 2:33PM

Pennsylvania ruling favors Moreno

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A U.S. District Court judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that a state regulation allowing licensees to appeal ejections from parimutuel facilities is unconstitutional because it does not guarantee that the appeal will be heard promptly.

Judge Sylvia Rambo of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania made the ruling on Wednesday in the review of a suit filed by Tito Moreno against Penn National Gaming and its director of racing. Moreno filed the lawsuit after he was ejected from Penn National Race Course in August after security officials for the Pennsylvania State Racing Commission witnessed the trainer exiting a stall at the racetrack with syringes, which are prohibited on racetrack property.

Moreno’s ejection was upheld after a hearing before the racing commission, but Moreno’s attorney, Alan Pincus, argued that the entire matter should be thrown out because of the unconstitutionality of the state regulation.

Rambo agreed with that argument, saying that the state regulation as written “fails to provide an ejectee with a ‘meaningful hearing at a meaningful time.’” In doing so, Rambo said the regulation violated the due process clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

As a result of the ruling, Penn National’s order to eject Moreno will be overturned, Rambo wrote.