ASPCA Pays $9.3 Million in Landmark Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Settlement
Feld Entertainment RICO Lawsuit Will Continue against the Humane Society of the United States, the lawyers, and other remaining defendants
VIENNA, VA - Dec. 28,
2012 – Feld Entertainment, Inc., the producer of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus,
announced today that the company has reached a legal settlement with the
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in connection
with two federal court cases. Under the settlement, ASPCA has paid Feld
Entertainment $9.3 million to settle all claims related to its part in more
than a decade of manufactured litigation that attempted to outlaw elephants in
the company’s Ringling Bros. ® Circus. This settlement applies only to the ASPCA. Feld Entertainment’s legal proceedings,
including its claims for litigation abuse and racketeering, will continue
against the remaining defendants, Humane Society of the United States, the Fund
for Animals, Animal Welfare Institute, Animal Protection Institute United with
Born Free USA, Tom Rider and the attorneys involved.
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 our family, our company, and our
employees for decades because they oppose animals in circuses. This settlement is a vindication not just for
the company but also for the dedicated men and women who spend their lives working
and caring for all the animals with Ringling
Bros. in the face of such targeted, malicious rhetoric,” said Kenneth Feld,
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Feld Entertainment.
The parties filed dismissal
papers today in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia as a result of
their settlement. The settlement covers only
Feld Entertainment’s claims against ASPCA for attorneys’ fees and damages in
the initial Endangered Species Act (ESA) case filed in 2000 by the animal
rights activists and the resultant racketeering (RICO) case brought by Feld
Entertainment in 2007. Discovery in the
initial lawsuit uncovered over $190,000 that these animal activist groups and
their lawyers paid to Tom Rider who lived off of the money while serving as the
“injured plaintiff” in the lawsuit against the circus.
“Our firm has been
defending Feld Entertainment against this onslaught of misguided litigation
brought by animal activist groups for years.
As their attorneys, it is gratifying to finally have a settlement that begins
to make up for the harm inflicted on this company, the family who owns it, and
its employees,” said John Simpson of Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P., lead
counsel for Feld Entertainment in all of the cases covered by the settlement