Court Dismisses Case Against Dick Van Dam Dairy

Cows Roaming Field

RIVERSIDE, Calif., December 10, 2020 — A lawsuit alleging animal mistreatment filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund against Dick Van Dam Dairy was thrown out by the California Superior Court for the County of Riverside today.

On October 8, 2020, news broke that the Animal Legal Defense Fund had filed a suit against the Southern California family-run dairy farm, accusing the owners of mistreating their animals and seeking an injunction against further operation of the farm. The case was based on a year-old report and highly edited videotape recorded by an “undercover Animal Outlook volunteer” fraudulently posing as a farmworker.

The Van Dam family, whose ancestors operated dairy farms in Holland for centuries before immigrating to the United States, vigorously denied all allegations of abuse from the start, pointing to government inspections and independent industry audits that have repeatedly verified that the family-run dairy has met or exceeded the highest of animal care standards for generations.

Stephen G. Larson and Dana M. Howard of Larson LLP, who were retained from the outset to defend the Van Dam family, have maintained that there has never been an animal care issue on the farm in its 63 years of operating and that the video footage set forth in the complaint was either staged or taken out of context. 

Larson and Howard filed a demurrer, or motion to dismiss, in response to the plaintiff’s complaint. During today’s hearing, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Irma P. Asberry sustained the demurrer and ordered the complaint dismissed in its entirety without leave to amend—meaning that the complaint cannot be refiled—finding that the Animal Legal Defense Fund had failed to state a cognizable claim for any injunctive relief.

“Today’s ruling confirmed what we already knew—that the lawsuit was baseless, manufactured, and false. The Animal Legal Defense Fund had no grounds to persecute the Van Dam Family and their farm, which is one of the cleanest, safest, and best run dairy operations in California.” 

— Stephen G. Larson


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