HSUS to pay $15.75 million to settle racketeering lawsuit

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Will Coggin, senior research analyst for the Center for Consumer Freedom, responded to the recent announcement that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other co-defendants will pay $15.75 million to settle a racketeering lawsuit brought by Feld Entertainment. This company is the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The activist animal rights group was involved in alleged illegal witness payments as part of a scheme to pursue malicious litigation against the circus.

“This historic case has exposed the despicable tactics of the Humane Society of the United States and other animal rights fanatics, and the settlement sends a message they will be held accountable for their actions,” says Coggin. “Most troubling is that this settlement will be paid with donations intended to help animals.

“Americans should think twice before donating any money to HSUS,” he continues. “It’s likely not being spent the way its ads lead people to believe.”

According to The Republic in Columbus, Ind., the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals already had agreed separately to pay more than $9 million to settle. Further, it noted that Feld issued a statement saying the final settlement this week is "a vindication of its practices."

The case originally stemmed from a complaint filed under the Endangered Species Act, alleging misconduct by Feld toward its Asian elephants. A U.S. District Court ultimately ruled the case was "frivolous," "vexatious," and "groundless and unreasonable from its inception." This stunning settlement finally brings to a close litigation that's dragged on for 14 years.

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L Blair    
May, 17, 2014 at 05:54 PM

This lawsuit is a 20 year-old case. Those who "allegedly" used money for illegal purposes are not even with HSUS anymore. By comparison, Barnum and Bailey Circus continues their animal cruelty practices. This was in the news of late, so the article is uncanningly timely. And by the way, the settlement comes out of insurance, not funds for animals. Check your facts.

Thom Katt    
Midwest  |  May, 19, 2014 at 06:15 PM

L. Blair, either you failed check facts or you are lying. "HSUS admits in its lawsuit against the insurance company that it is not covered for the racketeering lawsuit: “28. Plaintiffs [HSUS and two HSUS lawyers] are now required to defend themselves in the Feld Litigation without the benefit of the insurance that HSUS (and its affiliates) purchased from Defendant National Union to protect them.” [...] “33. HSUS, Lovvorn, and Ockene are currently deprived of insurance coverage for which HSUS paid […]” HSUS waited to long to file the claim. That is a failure on the part of the organizanizations CEO. Most businesses and NGOs fire CEOs for such malfeasance.

Walter Morris    
Twin Bridges, Mt.  |  May, 19, 2014 at 02:58 PM

It is rather insignificant as we were probably never informed of this action when it happened. My question is where did this money go and even if it is paid by an insurance company, the insurance company has to recoup this amount somehow. The point being is that HSUS does deceive people in order to attack those they dislike. This just shows how they spend the public money that the receive under deceptive actions. Why doesn't the fines go to right the wrong they cause.

Elmo Lovett    
May, 19, 2014 at 05:45 PM

The way to stop crap like this happening is to make the individuals responsible pay out of their pockets regardless of how long ago they did the stupid accusations. We the public wind up paying for their actions.

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