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The Press-Enterprise

December 11, 2020 — Judge Irma P. Asberry tossed out a lawsuit brought by the Animal Legal Defense Fund against Larson LLP client Dick Van Dam Dairy, ruling that the lawsuit cannot be refiled, The Press-Enterprise reported.

After an Animal Outlook activist went undercover posing as a dairy employee and shot photos and videos that purported animal abuse, the Animal Legal Defense Funds filed a lawsuit seeking to shut down the dairy in October 2020, the article explained. 

Partner Stephen G. Larson, who represents the family-owned dairy with counsel Dana M. Howard, told The Press-Enterprise, "Frankly, this has hurt, because the accusation that they mistreated their cows is something that cuts very deeply, because they care deeply about their cows."

The article reported that "family members check on the cows every day, and a veterinarian examines each of the 1,500 cows at least once every two weeks." Stephen maintained that "there has never been an animal care issue on the farm in its 63 years and that the images were either staged or taken out of context." 

On Dec. 10, 2020, Judge Asberry ruled "that Animal Legal Defense Fund lacked the legal standing to bring the lawsuit." 

The Press-Enterprise interviewed Kevin Abernathy, general manager of California's Milk Producers Council, who said, "dairies nationwide are being targeted by activists...most complaints are aired 'in the court of public opinion' and not in courtrooms." 

"I would say there is a small, vocal group of anti-agriculture folks and they can be on the animal rights side or the environmentalist side. They misrepresent things that are done in animal agriculture to support their views," Mr. Abernathy told The Press-Enterprise.

Read the full article by Brian Rokos of The Press-Enterprise here.