Ireland's trainers to decide this week on appeal against costly High Court loss
The Irish Racehorse Trainers Association will decide by the end of this week whether it will appeal a High Court decision that saw the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board’s security chief Chris Gordon awarded €300,000 in damages in the defamation case he took against them.
Michael Grassick, the IRTA chief executive, who was present in court and gave evidence during the 30-day trial, would neither confirm nor deny that an appeal would be lodged.
However, Grassick revealed the association is scheduled to discuss options with its legal team by the end of the week following on from the case, which was initiated by Gordon six years ago and has amassed legal costs well in excess of €1m.
Grassick said: “After the government announcement the other night, things have been put back a little bit, but we're hoping to talk with our legal team via conference call by the end of the week where we will discuss all of the options available to us.”
The IRTA is a company limited by guarantee, and is understood to be protected by a maximum liability of a little over €6 per member, which at 355 fully licensed trainers as per 2019 – seven of which are not members – works out at around €2,000.
Should Gordon look to enforce last week’s judgement, it has been suggested that the association will be found insolvent and a liquidator appointed. That would make Gordon, who was also awarded costs, an unsecured creditor and there would be no guarantee as to what he might eventually receive.
Grassick would not comment on the costs of the case and what Gordon may or may not get from the association in terms of compensation.
The association is understood, however, to have at least another fortnight before deciding whether or not to appeal last week’s decision.
Grassick explained: “The way it works is, we get a notification from the court about the case and we have a fortnight to respond to that.”
He added: “With everything that is going on I can only assume it has been delayed as we haven't received anything yet.”
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