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GRAY v. MADIGAN
June 18, 1992
EDWARD MADIGAN, Secretary of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN T. NIXON
Plaintiff Billy Gray, a professional trainer of Tennessee Walking Horses, brings this action under 15 U.S.C. § 1825(d)(6), 28 U.S.C. § 2201, and 28 U.S.C. § 1331, seeking a declaration from this Court that the procedures used in administrative hearings conducted pursuant to the Horse Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1821-1831, are constitutionally deficient. Defendant has moved to dismiss this case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, claiming (1) that Congress vested exclusive jurisdiction over such matters with the courts of appeals, 15 U.S.C. § 1825(b)(2), and (2) that plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. In the alternative, defendant seeks dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
On March 5, 1990, plaintiff Billy Gray was served with an administrative complaint alleging that he violated the Horse Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1821-1831 ("the Act"). The complaint sought the imposition of a $ 2000 civil penalty and an order disqualifying him from showing, exhibiting, or entering any horse or otherwise participating in such activity for a period of five years. On June 25, 1991, a hearing on the merits of the complaint was held before an Administrative Law Judge (the "ALJ"). After hearing the Department of Agriculture's ("the Department") proof, Gray moved to dismiss the complaint on constitutional grounds and for the failure of the Department to make out a prima facie case. The ALJ denied the motion and Gray asked for a recess in order to seek redress in federal district court. Although the ALJ denied this motion, a recess was granted and no further action has been taken in the case.
1. A declaration that the United States Constitution, and certain Federal Rules of Evidence and Federal Rules of Procedure shall apply and be enforced in all administrative proceedings filed under the Act in order to preserve due process.
2. A declaration that the Constitution, certain Federal Rules of Evidence and Procedure, and the decisions of courts interpreting them, shall govern all such administrative matters under the Act, including without limitation, the use of prior judgments, decrees or consent rulings against the accused, and the admission of expert testimony and other evidence.
3. A declaration of the standard of proof applicable to hearings under the Act.
4. A declaration, as a matter of law, that the failure of an accused to testify at a hearing should not be considered by the Administrative Judge or the Judicial Officer in determining whether the accused has violated the Act, this being essential to preserve due process.
5. Defining, as a matter of law, the terms "entering" and "entry" as found in the Act and applied by the Department.
6. A declaration, as a matter of law, that there shall be no unwritten and unpublished rules, regulations, procedures, and/or policies used by the Department, its Secretary, Judicial Officer, or the Administrative Judge in administering and enforcing the Act.
7. A declaration that Administrative Judges sitting on Department cases under the Act shall be entitled and required to exercise independent judgment, and be entitled to the same freedom from political influence as any other federal judicial officer and, specifically, that no one may influence that judgment ex parte in any pending case by threatening their job, their compensation, their advancement, or otherwise.
8. A declaration that in order to meet its burden of proof of a violation of the Act, the Department, at the least, must make out a prima facie case of all the elements of the alleged defense. To meet the burden and convict an individual of "soring," for instance, the Department must prove "entry," "soring" as defined by the Act, and that the accused or someone at his direction caused the "soring"; and not rely solely on the presumption created in 15 U.S.C. § 1825(d)(5).
9. A declaration that the Department failed to make out a prima facie case against Mr. Gray and any other relief to ...
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