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USA Equestrian
New Jersey Court Rejects As Frivolous USET's Motion To Disqualify Attorney

After hearing lengthy oral argument, the Superior Court of New Jersey today denied the motion of the United States Equestrian Team, seeking to disqualify the attorney representing Alan Balch, who is challenging the validity of various corporate actions taken by the USET in the fall of 2001. Judge Edmund R. Bernhard also ruled that the motion of the USET was unsupported by facts, was contrary to the law, and was frivolous. As a result, he ordered that the USET and its attorneys must pay sanctions to
reimburse the legal fees incurred in opposing their motion. Mr. Balch is the President of USA Equestrian, the National Equestrian Federation of the United States, which authorized Mr. Balch to file the New Jersey litigation.

The USET's disqualification motion was filed by Armand Leone, Jr., the President of the USET who is also acting as its attorney in the New Jersey litigation. The motion was based on the fact that Mr. Balch's attorney, Richard Collier, had successfully defended George Morris, Frank Chapot and other trustees of the USET in a 1990 lawsuit. According to Mr. Leone, Mr. Morris and Mr. Chapot are still trustees of the USET and therefore it would be a conflict of interest for Mr. Collier to oppose the USET in the current lawsuit.

Judge Bernhard rejected the arguments of Mr. Leone. He ruled that Mr. Collier's representation of individual trustees in the 1990 case did not mean that he was representing the USET in that case, and he noted that the USET had its own attorneys in that case. Judge Bernhard also found that, because there is no relationship between the 1990 case and the Balch action, it is not a conflict of interest for Mr. Collier to oppose the USET in the current litigation.

Finally, the Judge imposed sanctions on the USET, Mr. Leone, and Mr. Leone's law firm for filing a frivolous motion after receiving a warning from Mr. Collier that the demand for disqualification lacked any valid factual or legal basis. The amount of the sanctions will be determined after Mr. Collier submits an affidavit listing the legal fees incurred in defeating the frivolous motion for disqualification.

Mr. Collier commented that the motion to disqualify him was an unfortunate sideshow designed by the USET's attorneys to harass Mr. Balch and to delay the New Jersey litigation. "In light of Mr. Leone's open gloating in the media that the Federation 'is going to have legal bills going through the roof' in this case, it is especially gratifying that Mr. Leone and his client will end up paying my bills. This is what happens when a client is not getting objective advice from an independent attorney, but rather chooses to rely on an insider whose personal involvement distorts his judgment."

USA Equestrian Inc., as the National Equestrian Federation of the U.S., is the regulatory body for the Olympic and World Championship sports of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, reining, show jumping, and vaulting, as well as 19 other breeds and disciplines of equestrian competition. As
the country's largest multi-breed organization, the Federation has over 80,000 members and recognizes more than 2,800 competitions nationwide each year. It governs all aspects of competition, including educating and licensing all judges, stewards, and technical delegates who officiate at these shows.
The vision of USA Equestrian is to provide leadership for equestrian sport in the United States of America, promoting the pursuit of excellence from the grass roots to the Olympic Games, based on a foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare of its horses, and embracing this vision, to be the best national equestrian federation in the world.


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