Elephant sized payout in Ringling Bros. abuse of process case

by Walter Olson on December 28, 2012

According to a press release from Feld Entertainment, which owns the Ringling Bros.-Barnum & Bailey circus, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has agreed to pay $9.3 million to settle racketeering and other charges arising from alleged litigation abuse in lawsuits beginning in 2000 over elephant welfare. Feld says ASPCA and others paid a plaintiff and fact witness in the case whose testimony a judge described as not credible. It says it intends to continue suing other animal-welfare groups that it has named in connection with the episode, including the Humane Society of the United States, and Fund for Animals, as well as attorneys. [more on circus's side of dispute; earlier here, here, here, here] More: John Steele, Legal Ethics Forum.

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{ 4 comments }

1 John David Galt 12.28.12 at 1:22 pm

HSUS is a well-known for PETA, and has nothing to do with most local Humane Societies (see consumerfreedom.com). I’d be surprised if they’re not the instigators of the whole string of suits.

Perhaps we need a new term like “patent troll” for promoters of phony animal-welfare claims.

2 David Smith 12.28.12 at 2:53 pm

I’ve always maintained attorneys should be liable for the jurisprudential actions of their clients.

People say: “But the people have a right to the attorney of their choice”.

to which

I say: Not unless the attorney agrees.

3 wfjag 12.28.12 at 6:31 pm

As P.T. Barnum used to say “This way to the egress. Please deposit your money as you get to the door.”

4 Anonymous Attorney 12.31.12 at 4:30 pm

Good. So many “politically incorrect” defendants cower at stuff like this and it’s refreshing to see one fight back so vigorously.

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