U.S. District Court Judge Donald Malloy has thrown out a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of a year-old initiative designed to phase out game farms in the state. Dismissal of the complaint was requested by game farm operators who sued the state for up to $100 million in damages, claiming restrictions of the new law illegally deprived them of their property rights and "financially ruined 92 Montana business and the families that rely on" them. An attorney said the Montana Alternative Livestock Producers decided to drop the legal challenge for now, adding it was a financial decision. A month ago Malloy rejected the farm owners' request for an injunction to temporarily suspend the part of Initiative 143 that bans shooting game farm animals for a fee. The Supreme Court is considering a case pitting the state against Hamilton game farm owners who want to give their elk to the Crow Tribe. Two cases in separate state District Courts deal with the shooting ban, though none challenges the constitutionality of I-143, adopted by voters 51 percent to 49 percent.
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