U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon has ordered the New York Racing Association (NYRA) to pay $106,457.50 in legal fees and $2,667.31 in expenses incurred by trainer Bob Baffert in an ongoing legal battle between the two. Baffert brought suit against NYRA after the racing organization banned him from its tracks following Baffert’s announcement that Medina Spirit had tested positive for betamethasone after the Kentucky Derby.
In May, Judge Amon granted a preliminary injunction against NYRA, preventing the organization from enforcing its ban while the lawsuit is still pending. NYRA had argued that such reimbursement for legal costs was premature since Baffert had won a preliminary injunction but not the lawsuit itself. Judge Amon did not agree with that argument, pointing to other cases in which a plaintiff won a preliminary injunction but did not prevail in pursuit of a permanent injunction.
Judge Amon’s ruling indicated that Baffert has agreed not to seek damages related to this portion of the case.
The ruling weighed the experience of each of the attorneys working on Baffert’s case, as well as the billing records about the number of hours they’ve spent on the case so far, to determine whether the amount he requested is reasonable. According to the judge’s opinion, Baffert’s primary attorney, Craig Robertson, has billed him at a rate of $475 per hour. She did not award the full amount Baffert was seeking, based on an opinion that the rates in some cases were higher than the average range or that some of the work was duplicative.
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