Updated, originally post May 2009, HSUS’ alleged “RICO” claims against HUNTE were bogus and entire case dismissed. HSUS LOST AGAIN. PETLAND_lawsuit_dismissal_2 (see pg. 17, Hunte was dismissed entirely on any charges including alleged RICO)
A clearly written opposition by Hunte’s attorneys, to the HSUS- inspired alleged class action against both Hunte and Petland in AZ.
According to the pleadings, the HSUS inspired Plaintiffs lack standing to file such claims and it was also alleged right off the bat, that the “driving force behind the complaint is the Humane Society of the United States.”
It also clearly states that HSUS is an animal rights advocacy organization that advocates an extreme agenda; the stated goal of the HSUS is the complete eradication of defendants’ businesses. “The HSUS Statements of Policy state flatly: “The HSUS opposes the sale of dogs, cats and other animals through pet stores and other commercial operations. With regard to Petland, HSUS’s website is equally blunt: “[T]ell Petland to get out of the puppy-selling business.”
The complaint further states “Hence, although plaintiffs’ complaint purports to seek monetary damages and other relief, plaintiffs’ ultimate goal is the elimination of retail pet sales and the buinesses and jobs that support it.” [emphasis added]
The RICO complaint alleged by the HSUS “plaintiffs” were likely those obtained by the snag a Breeder form used by HSUS. In any event, Hunte alleges that the plaintiffs don’t have standing, because they never stated their own puppies were from the Hunte Corporation, and further, Hunte alleges that the Rico allegations are defective due to lack of specificity.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b) requires all allegations of fraud to be pled with particularity and is applicable to RICO claims according to the pleadings. Hunte alleges that the HSUS inspired Plaintiffs used deliberate vagueness by basing allegations upon information and belief and state that such allegation are insufficient to support fraud claims unless the facts are set forth which form the basis of the alleged fraud.
Hunte lists the following as to what HSUS claims to have done re sales of puppies: An eight month investigation into Petland marketing practices, misrepresenting and concealing the origin of puppy mill puppies, visited 21 stores and 35 breeders and brokers, and reviewed USDA reports and import records from 322 additional breeders and about 17,000 individual puppies linked to Petland; Hunte further alleged that this purportedly exhaustive investigation should have provided plaintiffs with information, if it existed, within which to satisfy Rule 9(b). Hunte then goes on to say that HSUS-insprired plaintiffs failed to allege even one misrepresentation made by Hunte. And then Hunte says:
‘THIS LACK OF SPECIFICITY SERVES ONLY TO HIGHLIGHT PLAINTIFFS’ SHAMELESS DISTORTION OF HUNTE AND ITS BUSINESS OPERATION. MOREOVER, IT JUSTIFIES DISMISSAL OF THE COMPLAINT.”
Although we don’t normally do RICO complaints, and although the Federal Courts s usually allow a plaintiff to amend a complaint once…. it might be that the HSUS inspired plaintiffs don’t actually have any specific information that they can allege. If they don’t have such information, it would be unlikely they could amend the pleadings properly. However IF they actually do have any specific information (which we think they may have) it may not rise to a level which is needed to prove fraud. [Note: with all of the shenanigans pulled by HSUS, it would not surprise us to find they filed the suit using several plaintiffs just to get MORE donations---not that they would win the case. HSUS is not the plaintiff obviously---and it is doubtful HSUS could have been the plaintiff in Federal Court. Also, HSUS is not looked upon favorably in Arizona right now after their raid on the dog owners where they had more dogs killed. [And after being exposed on National Television, channel 2, an ABC affiliate, Atlanta, GA on 5/14/09, it is doubtful that HSUS is becoming "more" credible than they were; see other post on this site for U Tube links.]
It remains to be seen how the case will transpire; we did not see a response filed by Petland yet. You will notice that it was NOT the HSUS that filed the case as “Plaintiffs.” Instead, HSUS put several puppy buyers up as Plaintiffs. It would still be great to see the Plaintiffs LOSE the case. Then when the Stevens’ case is won in the US Supreme Court (and HSUS is on losing side of that also) when the law is struck down—perhaps more people will believe what Pet Defense and many others have said for quite some time.
HSUS is animal rights. And they are media whores like Peta.