Losers pay in Judge Emmet Sullivan’s courtroom, at least when those losers bring a “frivolous, unreasonable and groundless” lawsuit under the Endangered Species Act. This welcome news is contained in a Friday order from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Judge Sullivan ruled that animal-rights organizations that sued Feld Entertainment, producer of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, must pay Feld’s attorneys fees. The plaintiffs included the Animal Welfare Institute and the Fund for Animals. Feld says it has spent more than $20 million on a legal circus that began in 2000 with claims that Ringling was abusing its elephants.
Feld won the case in 2009 after a six-week trial. On Friday, Judge Sullivan noted that “the plaintiffs were unable to produce any credible evidence that any of them had standing to pursue their claims.” The judge also reminded the litigants that the testimony of the plaintiffs’ star witness had been “wholly incredible, and in certain instances, he testified falsely.”