US Court Dismisses Lawsuit Filed by Utah Man Against American Team Rider Cesar Parra

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Cesar Parra riding Van the Man in Florida. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Cesar Parra riding Van the Man in Florida. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Dec. 23, 2013

A United States District Court in Utah dismissed a lawsuit filed by a local man against American team dressage rider Cesar Parra alleging business libel, slander, defamation and deceptive business practices.

The suit filed by Edward Allan Buck, operator of a horse and rider eduction business named Sympathetic Horsemanship named Cesar Parra; Parra’s employee Kathleen Riley; Stephen Kiront, Barry Kiront and David Schrager, who are officers; promoters Apex Stables International, Inc., headquartered at Performance Farms, and Michael C. Davis of Massachusetts, who is Parra’s financial backer, according to the complaint. Davis also owns a home in New Jersey and his daughter, an accomplished equestrian, trains with Parra.

Cesar Parra owns Piaffe-Performance Farms in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey and Jupiter, Florida. He rode on the U.S. team at the 2011 Pan American Games and this year’s Nations Cup in Wellington, Florida.

In dismissing the suit, Federal District Judge Ted Stewart said that Buck failed to prove that any of the defendants had a strong enough connection to Utah and therefore that court did not have jurisdiction. None of the defendants has lived or done business in Utah, nor owned property in the state.

The suit began when Buck sent a letter in February, 2012 to the Hunterdon County, New Jersey sheriff on behalf of an injured horse’s owner. The horse, William PFF, was being evaluated by Cesar Parra when it flipped over and allegedly suffered permanent injuries in June, 2009. Cesar Parra acknowledged the incident and said it was an accident.

The sheriff referred the issue to the Hunterdon County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. On March 9, 2012, investigator Ashley Meyer filed two counts each of animal cruelty, criminal and civil, in Readington Township municipal court for allegedly “tormenting, torturing” and “overworking, overdriving” a living animal. The summons did not provide any details for the basis of the charges.

The Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the charges.

Judge Stewart ruled that although statements made by Cesar Parra were published online and could be seen by people in Utah that did not prove that Buck was harmed in Utah by the statements. One article, published in Florida, did not even mention Buck by name.

The court dismissed motions seeking sanctions against Buck for allegedly filing a frivolous lawsuit, but wrote: “The Court is well aware of Plaintiff’s filing history and takes this opportunity to make Plaintiff aware of the possible imposition of sanctions should Plaintiff continue to file lawsuits that either fail to state a claim or the exercise of personal jurisdiction is improper.”

A pre-trial conference is scheduled for New Jersey in March, 2014 in the central William PFF case.