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News ::
Lawyer and legal funds needed! (english)
19 Sep 2002
Our grassroots animal rights group, SHAC, is currently facing SLAPP civil suits, filed by the largest insurance company in the world, in 5 different cities - Boston, .Chicago, Dallas, San Jose, and NYC. If anyone knows sympathetic lawyers, or can raise legal funds, please do get in touch! Please read on for more details.
SHAC, or Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty is an international campaign to close Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) - one of the largest and most notorious animal testing labs in the world. The campaign has been extremely successful (see list of victories below), and hence has experienced heavy retaliation.

A year ago we successfully stood up to a Federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) suit which was dismissed in the Spring of 2002.

We are currently facing SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) suits filed against us by Marsh Inc., the insurance broker for HLS (our campaign strategy has been to go after HLS's pillars of support - their investors, market makers, insurance companies, customers, etc. - the companies that HLS needs, but that don'nt need HLS - and campaign against them until they withdraw their support of the lab.) Marsh Inc. is the largest insurance comany in the world ( and they've filed suits against us in Boston, Dallas, Chicago, San Jose, and NYC.

SLAAP suits are often used by huge corporations to shut activists up and end campaigns. While companies can hire big law firms to churn out legal papers, activists are left trying to find pro bono or extremely discounted legal representation. As the law does not provide the right to legal representation for civil suits, the aim is to bleed us dry in legal costs. It becomes merely a battle of who has the most money. Clearly Marsh's tactic is to sue us in as many cities as they can, force us to hire lawyers in all those cities, and bank on the fact that we won't be able to afford them.

But we refuse to allow this to happen. This is more than an issue for animal rights organizations - this is an issue for all activists. We cannot allow thse companies to get away with corporate bully boy tactics where they can stomp all over us and shut us up because they have more money. We will not allow that precedent to be set. Refusing to sue the RICO suit was scary, but we did not want to set a precedent of companies using RICO laws (which were designed to protect small businesses from the Mafia) against activists. So we stood up to it, facing $12 million judgements against us personally, and it turned out to be the smartest legal manuver we could have made. Marsh has a lot of money, big law firms, and arrogance behind it. But we have the passion, the anger, and the undying deterimation to successfully stand up to them.

Lawyers who have looked at our case feel very strongly that we can win these cases. We just need all the support we can get in finding and paying lawyers. If you know sympathetic lawyers in those cities, please get in touch. If you know lawyers in other locations, please ask them if they know lawyers in those cities. If you can raise legal funds, they are much needed.

Thank you in advance for your support and if there's anything we can do to help your struggle, don't hesitate.

For the animals, for our civil liberties, to rise up, fuck shit up and fight back,

Some of SHAC's Victories:

In the 3 years the SHAC campaign has operated, we've brought this multinational corporation to its knees - bringing it from a $110 million company to a $10 million company, getting it kicked off the New York Stock Exchange, the London Stock Exchange, the Over The Counter Bulletin Board, and the Pink Sheets. We've taken out all their major investors including Citibank, Merrill Lynch, HSBC, Stephens Inc., Quilcap, and dozens more. We've driven away every one of their market makers in a matter of 8 weeks. They are $87 million in debt and are open now only because their directors are putting their own money into the company.
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