In January veterinarian Howard Baker lost his civil lawsuit against People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and undercover operative Michelle Rokke stemming from animal cruelty charges that PETA originally aired against Baker.
Baker was convicted of 14 counts of animal cruelty in July 1999. That verdict was later thrown out, however, after an appeals court judge found that Rokke was not a credible witness and that the judge who convicted Baker inappropriately took her testimony at face value.
After his conviction was thrown out, Baker turned around and filed a lawsuit against Rokke and PETA seeking $900,000 in compensatory damages for lost business at his veterinary practice, and $370,000 in legal fees and punitive damages.
But after a six-day trial in federal court in New Jersey, a jury spent less than two hours to reject the lawsuit.
PETA lawyer Jeff Kerr told the Home News Tribune,
It was an utterly baseless charge. The jury was out for all of an hour and a half. This is a victory for the animals.
Baker’s wife Jackie, meanwhile, complained that the judge in the case refused to allow much of the couple’s evidence against PETA and Rokke.
PETA, in turn, has a lawsuit seeking damages against Baker pending in Virginian. That lawsuit claims that Baker attempted to injure the animal rights group.
No win in civil lawsuit for vet. Sharon Waters, Home News Tribune, January 31, 2004.
Jury Rules For Peta Investigator In Case Of New Jersey VeterinarianÂ’S Behind-The-Scenes Beatings. Press Release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, January 30, 2004.
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