Appellant racing association challenged the decision from the Superior Court of Fresno County (California) which found that it had breached the written purse agreement with appellee horsemen’s associationawarded appellee damages with interest.
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Appellee horsemen’s association filed a complaint for damages arising from breach of a written purse agreement that appellant racing association violated by unilaterally reducing the purse. After the jury found for appellee horsemen’s association appellant challenged the ruling arguing that appellant did not have standing, that appellant did not exhaust its administrative remedies, the trial court failed to interpret statutory terms correctly,that its actions were excused by administrative action. The court first held that the standing issue did not apply to the situation. The court further held that there was no specific language or legislative intent granting the California Horse Racing Board the authority to award damages in these types of disputes. In addition the court held that appellee was estopped from bringing the interpretation issues. The court also held that appellant’s actions were not excused by statute or regulation. The court therefore affirmed the judgmentremanded for a determination of reasonable attorney fees.
The judgment finding appellee racing association liable for breach of a written purse agreement was affirmed because appellee’s actions were not excused by any action taken by the California Horse Racing Board (Board), nor did the Board have the authority to award damages in this type of dispute.