Federal racketeering case to proceed against HSUS

Aug 17, 2012

Another Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) lawsuit is underway, but this time, there is a big twist.

HSUS, known for their sad puppy-faced promotional ads, with little to no help for the animal shelters, but endless lawsuits and badgering for adoption of their animal rights agenda, is finally getting a taste of its own medicine.

It appears that mainstream media seems to have missed the release on this one, but despite the lack of coverage, HSUS, along with American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is going to court to face charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act statues on racketeering, obstruction of justice, malicious prosecution and other charges for a lawsuit it brought and lost against Ringling Brothers Circus’ parent company, Feld Entertainment, Inc.

“This ruling sets the stage for Feld Entertainment to finally have its day in court to seek justice for having to spend a decade defending itself against manufactured litigation. When parties abuse the judicial system and its process, as alleged here, there are remedies, including triple damages,” said John Simpson, Fulbright & Jaworski, counsel for Feld Entertainment.

Feld Entertainment filed a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against ASPCA, HSUS and other animal rights activists and their lawyers for racketeering violations, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, and the Virginia Conspiracy Act. The claims arose out of a prior case that Feld Entertainment successfully defended, resulting in a judgment in its favor on Dec. 30, 2009, which has been affirmed in its entirety by the Court of Appeals. In that case, the court had found, among other things, that the lead plaintiff, Tom Rider, was a paid plaintiff and fact witness with no injury “whose sole source of income throughout the litigation” was provided by his organizational co-plaintiffs and their lawyers.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan recognized that Feld Entertainment had sufficient allegations to proceed with claims that the victims of the defendants’ RICO violations were not only Feld Entertainment, but also members of the public who may have been improperly induced to make donations to the animal rights organizations based on the manufactured lawsuit. — Traci Eatherton, WLJ Editor