JOHN L. SOILEAU, ET AL.
CHURCHILL DOWNS LOUISIANA HORSERACING COMPANY, LLC, CHURCHILL DOWN LOUISIANA VIDEO POKER COMPANY, LLC JOHN L. SOILEAU, ET AL.
CHURCHILL DOWNS LOUISIANA HORSERACING COMPANY, LLC, CHURCHILL DOWN LOUISIANA VIDEO POKER COMPANY, LLC
FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2014-03873,
DIVISION "G-11" Honorable Robin M. Giarrusso, Judge
William L. Townsend, III Thomas T. Townsend Keenan K. Kelly
KELLY & TOWNSEND, LLC J. Chris Guillet Ronald E. Corkern,
Jr. CORKERN, CREWS & GUILLET, L.L.C. COUNSEL FOR
F. Waguespack Matthew J. Fantaci CARVER, DARDEN, KORETZKY,
TESSIER, FINN, BLOSSMAN & AREAUX, LLC John L. Duvieilh
Catherine Darden JONES WALKER, LLP COUNSEL FOR
composed of Judge Roland L. Belsome, Judge Rosemary Ledet,
Judge Paula A. Brown)
L. BELSOME, JUDGE
appeal stems from a trial court judgment affirming the
administrative decision of the Louisiana State Racing
Commission (the "Commission"), which granted an
exception of no right of action and dismissed the
Plaintiffs' lawsuit. For the following reasons, we
reverse and remand the case to the Commission for further
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
instant litigation was the subject of a previous appeal to
this Court, wherein we summarized the factual and procedural
background as follows:
This lawsuit constitutes complicated and protracted
litigation involving a dispute in the horse racing industry
between … [quarter-horsemen] and Churchill Downs
Louisiana Horseracing Company, LLC, owner of the Fair Grounds
Race Course & Slots facility in New Orleans, and
Churchill Downs Louisiana Video Poker Company,
The crux of the dispute relates to the distribution of
supplemental purse monies collected in off track facilities.
On April 21, 2014, John L. Soileau, Jo Baia Foreman, Alvin
Brossett, Justin Dehart, Kenneth L. Roberts, John E.
Hamilton, Danny Lavergne, Donald Watson, Joseph D. Manucy and
Lucan P. Constantin, file[d] a "Petition for Declaratory
Judgment, Permanent Injunction, and Damages-Class
Action." The plaintiffs were collectively represented as
quarter-horse[men] … who have won purses at the Fair
Grounds Race Track since the effective date of La. R.S.
27:438 and its predecessor statutes since 2008. The petition
named … [the Fair Grounds] as a "device
owner" for purposes of Louisiana law as defendants.
The original plaintiffs filed an amended petition adding HBPA
as a defendant. The trial court sustained the exception of
primary jurisdiction and ordered the matter referred to the
Louisiana Racing Commission for adjudication. …
Several exceptions were filed in the Louisiana State Racing
Commission's proceeding including an exception of no
right of action. That exception was sustained by the
Commission in an administrative decision dismissing this
lawsuit with prejudice. The matter went to the district court
on an appeal of that Administrative Order. … [T]he
trial court rendered a judgment affirming the Louisiana State
Racing Commission's decision.
Soileau, et al. v. Churchill Downs Louisiana Horse Racing
Co., LLC, et al, 17- 0264, slip op. at pp. 1-2 (La.App.
4 Cir. 8/23/2017) (unpub.).
prior appeal, this Court dismissed the Plaintiffs' case
without prejudice. On remand, the trial court rendered a
judgment, which was subsequently amended to dismiss the
lawsuit with prejudice. The Plaintiffs filed appeals from both
judgments. This Court consolidated the two appeals.
reviewing an administrative decision, the district court
functions as an appellate court. Since no deference is owed
by the appellate court to the district court's fact
findings or legal conclusions, the appellate court need only
review the findings and decision of the administrative
agency. Garber v. City of New Orleans Through City
Planning Comm 'n, 16-1298, p. 6 (La.App. ...