The Circus Wins

A courtroom in a big corporate case may sometimes be compared to a circus, but if you are going to take the circus to court, you had better be sure that you are not clowning around.  The Wall Street Journal’s website reported on December 28, that after 12 years of litigation, Feld Entertainment – producers of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus – had reached a 9.3 million dollar settlement to be paid by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (APSPCA).  There are still lawsuits pending against the other defendants in the case such as Humane Society of the United States, and Born Free USA, with charges including litigation abuse and racketeering.

Kenneth Feld, Chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment was quoted as saying, “These defendants attempted to destroy our family-owned business with a hired plaintiff who made statements that the court did not believe. Animal activists have been attacking …for decades because they oppose animals in circuses.”

During the initial suit brought by the ASPSA that alleged mistreatment of elephants by Feld Entertainment, it was discovered that the plaintiff’s organization had paid more than $190,000 to Tom Rider, the only individual plaintiff, who was claiming to have been injured by the mistreatment of the elephants. In December of 2009, the US District Court ruled that Rider was not a credible witness and therefore found judgment in favor of Feld Entertainment. The settlement covers attorneys’ fees and damages from the initial case and the subsequent one brought by Feld against the organizations.

More details about the case can be found at:

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