Federal Judges Tosses Five Year Old Animal Defense League Lawsuit

In 1998, the Animal Defense League sued New York’s Syracuse Police Department, accusing police there of illegally interfering with their First and Fourth Amendment rights. In October 2003, a judge dismissed that lawsuit, saying police acted appropriately.

The lawsuit stems from the arrest of seven Animal Defense League members by the Syracuse Police Department from February 1996 to January 1997. The arrests stemmed from protests the Animal Defense League held outside of fur stores in Syracuse, New York. Many of the charges that the activists were arrested on were never pursued in court.

The ADL argued that the arrests constituted an effort by police to “deliberately and systematically” deny them their Constitutional rights and sued. The ADL was seeking compensation for the violations of $1 million for the group, $500,000 for each activist who was allegedly wrongfully arrested, and $100,000 for each alleged example of police misconduct.

U.S. District Judge Neal McCurn ruled that police acted appropriately in arresting the activists and dismissed the lawsuit.


Judge dismisses animal rights group’s lawsuit against police. Associated Press, October 17, 2003.

Animal Rights Activists’ Lawsuit Over Arrests Tossed. John O’Brien, The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York), October 17, 2003.

Animal Defense League Plan To Sue City Police. John O’Brien, The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York), March 31, 1998.

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