The Missouri Veterinary Medical Board has accused Brooke Gray of committing the criminal offense of practicing veterinary medicine without a license. Rather than initiate a criminal proceeding, however, the Board is seeking an injunction. Defendants asserted their Fifth Amendment privilege against all of the Board's discovery requests and demanded a jury trial. The Board filed a Motion in Limine asking the Court to restrict the evidence Defendants could introduce at trial and asked the court to deny their demand for a jury trial.
This Response to Petitioner's Motion in Limine explains that for seven decades Missouri courts have refused to enjoin activities alleged to violate a criminal statute because that statute represented an adequate remedy at law. Missouri courts did recognize that equitable jurisdiction could properly be invoked if an allegedly criminal action threatened a party's private property rights or if the action constituted a public nuisance - but in this case Petitioner has not suggested any danger to private property rights nor has it demonstrated that Defendants' alleged actions could be considered a public nuisance. In fact, Missouri law makes clear that the unlicensed practice of veterinary medicine cannot, of itself, be considered a public nuisance, even if the legislature declares it to be such.
This being the state of the law, it is clear that Petitioner is actually seeking to enforce a criminal law in the guise of a civil action. By cloaking its action in this way, Petitioner seeks to put Defendants at risk of fines and prison (via contempt of court proceedings for violating an injunction) without ever affording them the constitutional protections designed to shield those who, like the Defendants, are accused of criminal activity.
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