More than a year after a New Jersey federal court was fully briefed on a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by unhappy bettors against trainer Bob Baffert, the matter was ordered to mediation by the trial judge.
“[I]t appears that mediation of this civil action would conserve the resources and be in the best interests of the Court and of the parties,” wrote Judge Julien Xavier Neals in an order dated March 13. “In the interest of efficient case management, Defendants’ motion to dismiss is hereby administratively terminated pending mediation.”
The suit was filed in July 2021, about two months after 2021 Kentucky Derby (G1) post-race testing showed Medina Spirit , who crossed the finish line first, was positive for betamethasone. After the suit was filed, stewards disqualified Medina Spirit. An appeal of the stewards’ ruling is pending before the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
BloodHorse reached out to attorneys for both sides of the dispute via email. W. Craig Robertson III, lead attorney for Baffert, indicated that while they will comply with all court orders, the referral to mediation will not yield results.
“This case is frivolous,” Robertson wrote. “It was frivolous the day it was filed and it remains that way today. No offers of settlement have or ever will be made. The case should be dismissed, if not voluntarily, then by the Court.”
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