Back in January of this year, Robert Kennedy Jr. made headlines for saying that the pork industry was a bigger threat to the United States than terrorists operating out of Afghanistan (see this story). Kennedy apparently not only likes to say absurd things but also files frivolous lawsuits and in early July 2002 had one such case thrown out by a Florida judge.
More than 30 groups, including Kennedy’s Water Keeper Alliance, filed a class action lawsuit against Smithfield Foods Inc. The lawsuit alleged that Smithfield Foods was deliberately polluting rivers and was in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Kennedy has filed several lawsuits against Smithfield Foods in several jurisdictions, essentially trying to use tort law to replace state and federal regulations of wetlands.
Chief U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich granted Smithfield’s motions to dismiss the Florida case and, citing “frivolous motions” filed by plaintiffs attorneys, ordered the plaintiffs to pay Smithfield’s legal costs. Kovachevich had written in an earlier opinion on the case that, “No reasonable attorney . . . could reasonably believe that [the lawsuit] had any reasonable chance of success.”
In March 2001, North Carolina Judge Donald W. Stephens threw out two other lawsuits filed there by Water Keeper Alliance and others groups against Smithfield.
Lawsuit dismissed against Smithfield. Associated Press, July 2, 2002.