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Patrick Gleason v. Anne Glasscock

March 29, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge


Plaintiff Patrick Gleason seeks redress against Defendant Anne Glasscock ("Defendant"), a supervisory investigator with the California Horse Racing Board ("CHRB"), alleging a violation of his substantive due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff also seeks redress for several state-law violations. Presently before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion is GRANTED.*fn1


In 2004, Plaintiff was issued a license by the CHRB as both a racehorse owner and racehorse trainer. Plaintiff admits that, prior to being issued licenses by CHRB, he had several criminal convictions and was released from prison in 1996. Although CHRB has discretion to refuse to issue a license to a person who has been convicted of a crime, CHRB issued Plaintiff's licenses despite his criminal history. Plaintiff's California licenses expired on November 23, 2006, and Plaintiff thus had to renew them if he desired to continue participating in horse racing within California.

Plaintiff held similar racehorse owner/trainer licenses in Oregon and Arizona. In 2006, Plaintiff's Oregon license was suspended for "irregularities" with Plaintiff's Oregon racing application, in particular, for Plaintiff's failure to adequately disclose his criminal history. Plaintiff explains that the "irregularities" in the Oregon license application were due to alterations to his license application, which were done without his knowledge, and to the loss by the licensing officials of an attachment disclosing Plaintiff's criminal history. In 2007, the Oregon Racing Commission confirmed the revocation of Plaintiff's Oregon racing license. By operation of Oregon law, Plaintiff became ineligible to reapply for his Oregon license until May 26, 2008.

In 2006, Plaintiff became a subject of investigation by the Arizona Department of Racing for failure to disclose a misdemeanor arrest when applying for his Arizona license. Plaintiff alleges that the omission of his misdemeanor arrest was inadvertent. However, the Arizona racing director revoked Plaintiff's Arizona license. Plaintiff became eligible to reapply for his Arizona license when his Oregon suspension/ revocation ended on May 26, 2008.

Plaintiff alleges that, between May 2008 and June 2009, Defendant, CHRB's supervisory investigator, improperly refused to renew Plaintiff's California licenses. According to Plaintiff, he met with Defendant to discuss the renewal of his California licenses when he became eligible for licensing in Oregon and Arizona on May 26, 2008. Defendant allegedly informed Plaintiff that she would block Plaintiff's return to racing because of Plaintiff's past criminal history, and that she would require Plaintiff to undergo a "fitness hearing." Plaintiff alleges that Defendant's statements were contrary to CHRB's "custom and practice," pursuant to which applicants already licensed in good standing with CHRB are eligible for an automatic license renewal. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant filed a frivolous complaint with CHRB's Board of Stewards claiming that Plaintiff was in violation of CHRB Rule 1484 due to Plaintiff's suspension/revocation in Oregon and Arizona although Plaintiff's suspension/revocation in those states had expired. According to Plaintiff, the hearing on Defendant's complaint was taken off the calendar and was never rescheduled.

Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant improperly maintained Plaintiff's status in the internal CHRB computer licensee database as "unfit for racing."

In July 2008, CHRB special investigator Sharon Jolly allegedly assured Plaintiff's attorney that Plaintiff could renew his licenses at the Solano County Fair. Jolly also allegedly stated that, if Defendant wanted to deny Plaintiff's license, she would have to do it on grounds other than Plaintiff's criminal history. However, when Plaintiff traveled to the Solano County Fair, Defendant issued a form refusal notice to Plaintiff indicating that Plaintiff's application was denied because of his past criminal history and because of his suspension/revocation in other jurisdictions. Defendant also informed Plaintiff that he could not seek immediate review of her decision with the Board of Stewards, which, Plaintiff alleges, was contrary to the "policy, practice, custom and procedure of the CHRB racing stewards." Complaint, ¶ 38.

When Plaintiff filed an administrative appeal of Defendant's refusal to renew his license, Defendant allegedly prepared paperwork presenting Plaintiff's case as "license denial," as opposed to a refusal to renew a license of a current licensee. Defendant referred Plaintiff's appeal to the CHRB Headquarters in Sacramento, and not to the Board of Stewards contrary to "the customary and appropriate process for relicensing of a licensee already in good standing with the CHRB." Id., ¶ 42. Plaintiff alleges that he was the only licensee in good standing to be treated in this fashion.

Plaintiff eventually withdrew his appeal of Defendant's refusal of Plaintiff's licensing application because he believed that "he was railroaded into the 'fitness hearing' in contravention of CHRB regulations and Board of Stewards policies and practices." Id., ¶ 46.

In September 2008, all pending hearings against Plaintiff were vacated. However, when Plaintiff attempted to reapply for his licenses in October 2008, Defendant again refused to renew Plaintiff's license because of Plaintiff's prior criminal history and suspensions in Oregon and Arizona. When Plaintiff met with the Stewards, the Stewards explained that they were unable to grant Plaintiff a license because of Defendant's objections. Plaintiff claims that Defendant misinterpreted the content of the applicable CHRB directive to the Stewards. Believing that he would not succeed in renewing his licenses in California, Plaintiff was allegedly "forced" to travel to Arizona where he obtained a racing license in January 2009. Subsequently, Plaintiff also obtained a racing license in Nebraska.

In May 2009, while residing in Nebraska, Plaintiff applied to the racing secretary and was granted stalls at the San Joaquin County Fair in California. When Plaintiff contacted CHRB in Sacramento, he was advised that he could set up his barn on the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds prior to renewing his California licenses and that he could renew his California licenses at the fairgrounds.

However, several days prior to the fair, the San Joaquin County Fair Superintendent approached Plaintiff and informed him that Steward Grant Baker had stated that Plaintiff was suspended from racing in California, and thus could not be on the grounds. Plaintiff ...

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