A New Jersey judge in September refused to grant a securities firm an injunction limiting protests by animal rights activists against the firm.
Seaboard Securities Inc. was targeted by Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty after it signed on as a market maker for Huntingdon Life Sciences. A market maker is a company that is prepared to buy and sell stock in an over-the-counter stock, such as Huntingdon Life Sciences, in order to create an orderly market mechanism for trading in shares of the stock.
Five animal rights activists were arrested in late July during a protest at the firm’s headquarters in Florham, New Jersey. Shortly afterward Seaboard Securities Inc. stopped acting as a market maker for HLS stock. Seaboard Securities’ attorney David Wadyka told The New Jersey Daily Record that the firm wants to resume acting as a market maker for HLS, but only if it knows it can do so without being harassed by SHAC.
According to the New Jersey Daily Record, Seaboard Securities,
. . . presented the judge [Judge Kenneth C. MacKenzie] with a host of conditions, such as enjoining protesters from coming within 100 feet of Seaboard Securities, barring them from e-mailing or calling employees, and limiting the amount of time they could protest outside Seaboard Securities.
The problem was that the only incident that Seaboard Securities could site as an example of harassment was the August protest, which was pretty slim pickings to ask for such a sweeping court order. SHAC attorney Leonard Egert argued that there was no proof, in any case, that the activists involved in the July protest were part of SHAC.
In declining to issue the restraining order against SHAC, Judge MacKenze said,
The court is not satisfied there is a real controversy before the court that requires its intercession.
Animal activists win round. Peggy Wright, September 15, 2004.