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Racing Commission’s Mistake Leads to Reversal on Appeal

Published: Mar 11, 2022 by Brandon Smith

Last year, the Ohio State Racing Commission suspended our client’s license for 180 days and imposed a $500.00 fine. We appealed.

Upon appeal, Ohio law requires the agency, in this case the Racing Commission, to certify a complete record of its proceedings for the court to review. If the agency fails to do so, the court can rule against the agency and require the agency to reverse their decision and enter a finding in favor of the licensee.

In our experience, however, courts rarely rule against agencies for technical violations of this requirement. Instead, courts regularly require licensees to prove that they were prejudiced by the exclusion of something from the certified record to prevail. Technical violations by an agency rarely result in appellate wins for licensees.

In our client’s case, the omission from the record was so egregious that the court ordered the Racing Commission to enter a finding in our client’s favor.

The Racing Commission had failed to include the transcript of the entire second day of testimony in the case, including the entirety of our client’s testimony, in the certified record. We raised this issue in our brief. The Racing Commission quickly filed the missing transcript and a motion with the court to permit them to do so and to allow us to submit a new brief based on the updated record.

The court denied the Racing Commission’s motion and ruled in our client’s favor ordering the Racing Commission to enter a finding in our client’s favor.

If you have been sanctioned by a state agency and would like to discuss your appeal options, you should consider contacting one of the licensed attorneys at Graff & McGovern, LPA. Attorney Brandon Smith is available at (614) 228-5800, x. 7 and