Brigid Colvin’s seven-month suspension and $7,000 fine from the U.S. Equestrian Federation has been upheld by the Supreme Court of the State of New York-New York County in a decision filed on Sept. 25.
Colvin was originally suspended from the USEF in a July hearing committee decision after Inclusive, the horse her daughter, Tori, rode in the 2014 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships, tested positive for “gamma-aminobutyric acid [GABA] in excess of normal physiological levels.”
Colvin filed a civil suit against the USEF in New York County, arguing that “the USEF decision [to ban and fine her] was arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion and not supported by substantial evidence.” In a preliminary ruling, Judge Debra A. James of the New York Supreme Court issued a temporary stay of the suspension.
As evidenced by the USEF hearing transcript, which was filed as evidence in Colvin’s civil suit, Colvin told the USEF tester to write her name as “trainer” on the tag used to identify the sample taken from Inclusive, while Steven Ricketts was listed as the “trainer” on the official entry form. Colvin denied that she had been involved in the care, custody and control of Inclusive on the day even though she had identified herself as the trainer of record to the USEF testing official.
But in a decision filed on Sept. 25 in the Supreme Court of New York-New York County, Judge James ruled to uphold the USEF suspension. “Although this court agrees with the petitioner that it would be completely irrational for her to participate in illegally medicating Inclusive and then tell the drug tester that her name be inserted as ‘Trainer,’ her lapse in judgment under the circumstances does not refute substantial evidence that she undertook the responsibility of the Trainer.”
Judge James dismissed Colvin’s petition to reverse the USEF decision, thereby reinstating Colvin’s ban from USEF licensed competition grounds for seven months and fining her $7,000.
Colvin’s lawyer, Courtney Devon Taylor of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, LLP, immediately filed an appeal.