United States District Court, D. Delaware
Honorable Maryellen Noreika United States District Judge
Wilmington on this 9th day of October 2019:
September 24, 2019, Plaintiff Perry Deluna
(“Plaintiff” or “Deluna”) sued
Defendants the Delaware Harness Racing Commission (“the
Commission”), Brian Manges (“Manges”), and
Beverly Steele (“Steele”) (collectively,
“Defendants”) for violations of the Commerce,
Equal Protection, and Due Process Clauses of the United
States Constitution. (D.I. 1). Two days later, Plaintiff
filed a Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and
Preliminary Injunction (“Motion”) with supporting
opening brief. (D.I. 4, 5). On October 3, 2019, the Court
held a teleconference, heard argument from both sides, and
ordered further briefing on Plaintiff's Motion.
Subsequently, Defendants filed a response to the Motion on
October 4, 2019 (D.I. 15) and Plaintiff replied on October 7,
2019 (D.I. 17). After careful review of all materials
submitted by the parties, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that
Plaintiff's Motion (D.I. 4) is DENIED.
is a California resident who races horses throughout the
country. He is licensed by the Commission to race horses in
Delaware. Defendants consist of the Commission, its chair
(Steele), and the presiding judge (Manges) of Harrington
Raceway (“Harrington”), a racetrack in Delaware.
The Motion concerns Plaintiff's June 25, 2019 purchase of
a horse at Harrington in what is known as a “claiming
race, ” his attempts to race that horse outside of the
state of Delaware, and the Commission's efforts to stop
and, subsequently, penalize him for doing so.
“claiming race” is a race in which horses of
similar ability are grouped together and offered for sale at
a designated amount. (D.I. 15 at 1-2). Each horse in a
particular race is offered for approximately the same price
and any licensed owner may “claim” -
i.e. purchase - any of the horses by submitting a
claim in conformance with the applicable rules. (Id.).
The purpose of claiming races, which are apparently held
throughout the country, is to ensure competitive racing,
foster excitement for the local horse racing community, and
strengthen the local horse racing industry. See,
e.g., Jamgotchian v. Indiana Horse Racing
Comm., 16-2344-WTL-TAB, 2017 WL 4168488, at *1 (S.D.
Ind. Sep. 20, 2017); (D.I. 5 at 4; D.I. 15 at 2, 4).
like most other horse-racing states, has rules to regulate
claiming races. These include what is colloquially known as a
“claiming jail” rule - a provision that,
inter alia, places a temporary limitation on where
owners may race claimed horses. Delaware's version mandates
that horses claimed in the state “shall only be
eligible to enter in races in the state of Delaware for a
period of 60 days following the date of the claim.” 3
Del. Admin. Code § 501-184.108.40.206 (“Rule
220.127.116.11”). Delaware does allow horses to be
“paroled” out of claiming jail before their
sentence is up but gives power over early release to the
track where the horse was claimed. Id.; D.I. 15 at
5. Harrington has a very straightforward and simple rule - it
does not grant any claiming jail waivers, without exception.
(D.I. 15, Ex. 2).
25, 2019, Plaintiff, via his authorized agent, claimed the
horse “When You Dance” from a race at Harrington.
(D.I. 5 at 2; D.I. 15 at 2-3, Ex. 2-3). Included in the
purchase paperwork was information regarding the Delaware
claiming jail rule as well as a notice of Harrington's
no-waiver policy, the latter of which Plaintiff's agent
signed in acknowledgement. (D.I. 15, Ex. 2). In accordance
with that policy, When You Dance could not race outside
Delaware for sixty days following Plaintiff's claim. The
next Delaware race for which When You Dance was eligible,
however, was not until August 19, 2019. (D.I. 15 at 6; D.I.
17 at 3). Thus, notwithstanding the Delaware rules and
Harrington's policy, Plaintiff entered When You Dance in
a race in Minnesota taking place on July 7, 2019. (D.I. 5 at
2-3; D.I. 15 at 3, Ex. 4). When he was informed that the
horse was ineligible because of Delaware's claiming
rules, he attempted to get a waiver from Harrington. (D.I. 5
at 2-3). He was, however, denied the waiver. (Id.).
Plaintiff then proceeded to seek out jurisdictions that would
not give reciprocity to Delaware's claiming jail rule.
(Id.). He found willing partners in Illinois and
Kentucky, where he raced When You Dance a total of four times
between July 26 and August 18 (once in Illinois and three
times in Kentucky). (D.I. 5 at 3; D.I. 15 at 3, Ex. 4).
the Board of Judges at Harrington notified Deluna that he was
accused of violating Rule 18.104.22.168 and that a hearing would
take place on August 20, 2019. (D.I. 5 at 3-4; D.I. 15 at 3).
At that hearing, Plaintiff apparently did not dispute his
culpability, but argued that Rule 22.214.171.124 was
unconstitutional and therefore had no force. (D.I. 15 at 3).
On August 21, the Board - presided over by Defendant Manges -
found Plaintiff guilty, suspended his Delaware license for 60
days, and imposed a $5, 950 fine. (D.I. 5 at 3; D.I. 15 at 3,
Ex. 1). Plaintiff requested a stay of the suspension from
each of the Board, Steele, and the Commission. (D.I. 5 at
3-4; D.I. 15 at 3). All three denied him. (Id.). He
appealed the Board's decision to the Commission, but his
suspension and the fine were upheld. (Id.). As a result,
Plaintiff asserts that he is barred from racing horses
anywhere in the country, as all other states have given
reciprocity to the Delaware suspension. (D.I. 5 at 5).
Plaintiff's suspension ends on October 19, 2019, and his
license will be restored if he pays the fine assessed. (D.I.
17 at 4).
September of 2019, Plaintiff filed his complaint and Motion.
He seeks injunctive relief to prevent the enforcement of Rule
126.96.36.199 not just against himself, but “against him or
any other licensee of the Delaware Harness Racing
Commission.” (D.I. 4 at 2). In short, he seeks an
injunction barring the Commission from enforcing Rule
188.8.131.52 at all.
injunctive relief is an ‘extraordinary' remedy
appropriate only in ‘limited circumstances.'”
Kos Pharm., Inc. v. Andrx Corp., 369 F.3d 700, 708
(3d Cir. 2004) (quoting Am. Tel. & Tel. Co. v.
Winback & Conserve Program, Inc., 42 F.3d 1421, 1427
(3d Cir. 1994). “It may be granted only when the moving
party shows (1) a likelihood of success on the merits; (2)
that the movant will suffer irreparable harm if the
injunction is denied; (3) that granting preliminary relief
will not result in even greater harm to the nonmoving party;
and (4) that the public interest favors such relief.”
Doe by and through Doe v. Boyertown Area Sch. Dist.,
897 F.3d 518, 526 (3d Cir. 2018) (citations and modifications
omitted); see also Winter v. Natural Res. Def.
Council, 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008). Movants face a
“heavy burden, ” Lane v. New Jersey, 753
Fed. App'x. 129, 131 (3d. Cir. 2018), and must establish
entitlement to relief by “clear evidence, ”
Boyertown, 897 F.3d at 526; see also
Winter, 555 U.S. at 22; Lane, 753 Fed.
App'x. at 131 (finding movant “did not meet his
heavy burden of showing the District Court that a preliminary
injunction was warranted.” (citing Kos Pharm.,
369 F.3d at 708; Holland v. Rosen, 895 F.3d 272, 285
(3d Cir. 2018))). Failure to establish any of the elements,
especially either of the first two, renders preliminary
injunctive relief “inappropriate.” Arrowpoint
Capital Corp. v. Arrowpoint Asset Mgmt, LLC, 793 F.3d
313, 319 (quoting NutraSweet Co. v. Vit-Mar Enters.,
Inc., 176 F.3d 151, 153 (3d Cir. 1999)); see also
Jack Guttman, Inc. v. Kopykake Enters., Inc., 302 F.3d
1352, 1356 (Fed. Cir. 2002) (“[A] trial court may . . .
deny a motion based on a patentee's failure to show any
one of the four factors - especially either of the first two
- without analyzing the others.”). A temporary
restraining order (“TRO”) is subject to the same
standard. E.g., Intercept Pharms., Inc. v. Fiorucci,
No. 14-1313-RGA, 2016 WL 6609201, at *1 (D. Del. Jan. 28,
2016); Takeda Pharms. USA, Inc. v. West-Ward Pharm.
Corp., No. 14-1268-SLR, 2014 WL 5088690, at *1 (D. Del.
Oct. 9, 2014); In Re Cyclobenzaprine, No.
09-2118-SLR, 2011 WL 1980610, at *1 (D. Del. May 20, 2011).
Court finds that Plaintiff is not entitled to the
extraordinary remedy of injunctive relief because he has