A federal judge in Amarillo today [Aug. 22] signed a final judgment ordering the American Quarter Horse Association of Amarillo to immediately amend its rules and regulations to allow for registration of horses produced by any cloning process.
The judgment comes after a Texas jury on July 30 found the AQHA violated antitrust laws by not registering cloned horses.
The horse breeding plaintiffs in Abraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture, et al. v. American Quarter Horse Association had alleged the AQHA violated antitrust laws because its Rule 227(a) creates a "monopoly in the market for high-quality registered Quarter Horses" by banning registration of horses produced by "any cloning process."
Nancy Stone (pictured), an attorney for plaintiff Abraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture, says the plaintiffs are pleased with U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson’s final judgment. The final judgment today comes after Robinson stated at a hearing on Aug. 12 that she would impose an injunction to restrain the AQHA from enforcing its Rule 227(a), which prohibits the registration of horses produced by cloning.
“We knew from the statements of the judge at the hearing on Aug. 12, as well as the order she entered on the attorneys fees, that we would be getting a final judgment that was going to be very favorable,” says Stone, a solo practitioner in Amarillo.
On Aug. 19, Robinson signed an order awarding $346,500 in attorney fees to Abraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture, $267,862 to Abraham Equine Inc., and $277,025 to Jason Abraham.
Stone represents Abraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture. Sam L. Stein, a solo practitioner in Cherokee, Okla., and of counsel at Whittenberg, Whittenberg, Stein & Strange in Amarillo, represents Abraham Equine. Brian Robinson, a partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Dallas and Amarillo solo practitioner Ronald Nickum represent Jason Abraham.
W. Wade Arnold, a shareholder in Underwood Law Firm in Amarillo, who represents AQHA in the suit, did not immediately return a telephone call. Neither did Sarah Davisson, manager of publicity for the AQHA.
However, in an earlier press release on Aug. 1, the AQHA announced it would "take any and all necessary legal steps to overturn" the verdict. As described in the release, the AQHA's position is that its rule prohibiting the registration of clones and offspring is reasonable and lawful.
— Brenda Sapino Jeffreys