Ringling Brothers

17 Jul 2014

circus elephants on parade

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

I was sent a link to a story and asked if it was true. The story noted that Charity Navigator, the charity watch dog group, had attached a Donor Advisory to the Humane Society of the United State's listing, specifically because of the lawsuits related to the Ringling Brothers circus.

15 May 2014

Last update

I've had a day to get over the shock at the settlement amount.

All of the statements by the animal welfare folk I posted links to make logical sense. And believe it or not, once I got over the shock at the amount of the settlement, I wasn't necessarily against a settlement in the ESA attorney fee battle—though, I believed it was important to continue the fight in the RICO case. What I had expected was a settlement closer to the amount given in the original animal welfare attorney fee reply—about five million.

This amount would have been a loss for the groups, yes, but it wouldn't have been such a PR bonanza for Feld. The larger amount, though...that's going to cut deep, and not just in a monetary sense.

Regardless of what I've said today, I am not mad at the groups. I am profoundly disappointed, which, in some ways, is worse.

19 Mar 2014

Think back on the last donation you made for a cause. Perhaps it was to the Natural Resource Defense Council to aid them in their court battle to protect the Palisades Interstate Park. Maybe it was to the Sierra Club, to support its Clean Air Act lawsuit against a Montana coal-fired power plant, or to any organization or individual battling Chevron in its epic, and manic court fight against Ecuadorians, lawyers, journalists, film makers, big tech companies, and most US environmentalists.

The donation was made. Your side of the court battle will win, or it won't. End of story. Or at least, you think it's the end of the story.

11 Feb 2014

I dabble more than a little in the legal world, but that's OK, because the legal world dabbles quite heavily in the world of technology. Nowadays, metadata is the smoking gun in court, and e-discovery is the ballistics test that uncovers it.

The concept of e-discovery, or electronic discovery is simple: it is the discovery, identification, and production of electronically stored information (ESI). However, the execution can be involved, complex, and frequently contentious.

Take for example something seemingly simple and benign: the keyword search. If you and I want to find out about something online, we open up Google or Bing and type in some words, such as "e-discovery keyword search". We typically get back a ton of links, in order of relevancy. We pick and choose from among the links to find what we need. Rarely do we have to go beyond the first few pages to get the information or resources we're looking for.

29 Dec 2013

Ringling circus elephant and bullhookFeld Entertainment, Inc (FEI), owner of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus, is attempting to coerce confidential donor lists from the animal welfare groups it has battled with for 13+ years in the DC federal courts. FEI's lawyers are doing so in an attempt to prove that the animal welfare organizations it's suing—the Humane Society of the United States, Animal Welfare Institute, Fund for Animals, Born Free USA, and the Wildlife Advocacy Project—engaged in "donor fraud" in their solicitation of funds to continue their battle to help circus elephants.

Specifically, FEI's discovery request demands the following:

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