Berosini Loses Final Appeal In Long-running Fight Against PETA

The Associated Press reported today that Bobby Berosini lost his final appeal in this long-running battle with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

According to the Associated Press, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal upheld a lower court ruling requiring Berosini to pay $250,000 in legal fees that PETA incurred in lawsuits related to a defamation lawsuit that Berosini filed against PETA in the late 1980s.

Berosini initially won the first round after a jury awarded him a $3.1 million judgment against PETA. That award, however, was overturned by the Nevada Supreme Court and Berosini was ordered to pay PETA’s legal fees.

According to PETA, Berosini actually paid the $250,000 amount in question in the latest round of lawsuits several years ago.


Former Las Vegas showman loses PETA legal fights fee. Associated Press, March 5, 2007.

Animal Rights Activists Sue Police Over March 2001 Arrest

Animal rights activists Jerry and Pamelyn Vlasak filed a lawsuit this month over their treatment during an animal rights protest in Las Vegas, Nevada, in March 2001.

The Vlasak’s were part of a small protest against Stephens Group, an investment firm that until recently had ties with animal testing firm Huntingdon Life Sciences.

The Vlasaks claim they were physically assaulted by police and private security guards.

Why wait more than a year to file the lawsuit? Because in February 2002, one of the officers who arrested them was charged with armed robbery. As the Associated Press put it, “Cal Potter, the Las Vegas lawyer representing the Vlasaks, said the allegations are bolstered by other problems facing the two officers named in the lawsuit.”

Of course the Vlasaks don’t exactly have a spotless record either, including a record of numerous arrests and occasional convictions for their actions in animal rights protests.

A quick search finds Pamelyn Vlasak was arrested in August 1999 at a protest against Circus Vargas. She was eventually convicted of violating a Los Angeles city ordinance and sentenced to 30 days in jail.

In August 2000 the Vlasaks were arrested at the Los Angeles Sports Arena protesting the Ringling Brothers Circus.

And the Vlasaks routinely claim that police assault them. Pamelyn claimed that police assaulted her during her 1999 arrest, Jerry claimed that police tied him to a pole and took turns kicking him after a 1997 anti-fur arrest — pretty much every time these folks get arrested, they offer the same litany that they weren’t doing anything wrong (even when they were flagrantly violating the law) and that the police inevitably abused and mistreated them.

That’s a nice schtick that plays well with the No Compromise folks, but courts have so far not fallen for this routine.


Animal rights activists file civil rights lawsuit in Las Vegas. Associated Press, May 20, 2002.

6 Arrested, 2 Hurt at LA Sports Arena Circus Protest. No Compromise, August 2, 2000.

Activist sentenced to jail. Laura Tate, Round Up( Los Angeles Pierce College), February 2, 2002.

Dawn Carr Receives Probation for Miss Rodeo America 2000 Pie

Last year animal rights activist Dawn Carr, 31, cowardly threw a pie in the face of 21-year-old Brandy DeJongh immediately after DeJongh’s crowning as Miss Rodeo America 2000. Carr intended the pie in the face as a commentary on rodeos and animals.

Not surprisingly, Carr is a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

In December 2000, Carr pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery in Las Vegas, Nevada. She received one year’s probation and was ordered to pay $1,700 in restitution to DeJongh for damages done to the dress DeJongh was wearing.


Sentence set in activist’s pie incident. Las Vegas Review Journal, December 5, 2000.

PETA and Undercover Operative Sued by Veterinarian

The last year has seen a dramatic turnaround in the case of New Jersey veterinarian Howard Baker who was originally convicted of animal cruelty charges only to have his conviction vacated by an appeals court. Now, Baker is turning the tables on his accusers by suing People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and one of its undercover investigators for defamation.

The imbroglio started when Michelle Rokke was hired by Baker to work at his veterinary clinic. Rokke is a career animal rights activist who has worked with PETA on a number of hidden camera exposes. Rokke was involved, for example, in a recent undercover investigation of Huntingdon Life Sciences.

In that case Huntingdon sued PETA and Rokke after Rokke, among other things, stole over 8,000 documents from HLS. Eventually the two parties settled that lawsuit out of court with PETA agreeing to stop claiming that Rokke turned up evidence of animal abuse at the laboratory.

Rokke claims she went to work at Baker’s office simply to learn how to care for animals, but it didn’t take her long to start smuggling a hidden camera in to work in a purse over a 10-month period looking to collect evidence of animal abuse. The videotapes she made while working for Baker eventually formed the core of a case of criminal animal abuse that resulted in Baker’s conviction.

That conviction was thrown out by a New Jersey appellate court, however, and Baker charged that not only did Rokke lie about what happened in his office, but that she and PETA selectively edited the videotapes to hide the context of his actions (whether or not this is true in Baker’s case, PETA has a long history of selectively editing such videotapes.)

Now Baker has filed a suit against Rokke and PETA saying that PETA defamed him. This isn’t the first time that PETA has faced such a lawsuit. Animal trainer Bobby Berosini won a judgment against PETA after it distributed videotapes of him disciplining orangutans that were part of a live Las Vegas act. That judgment, however, was later reversed by the Nevada Supreme Court.

Baker’s case is different in one important point from the Berosini case — the Nevada Supreme Court essentially held that Berosini was in a public place and had no expectation of privacy. Rokke, however, taped Baker inside a private office and New Jersey’s state constitution explicitly recognize a right to privacy.

Neville Johnson, an attorney who advised Food Lion in its landmark win against ABC’s “Prime Time Live” for using hidden camera investigators, told the Bergen Record that the cases are very similar. “. . . You cannot commit a crime to expose wrongdoing, because then you would have these people assuming police or quasi-police powers.” Johnson went on to add that the case could do a lot of damage to PETA. “This kind of stuff, done with the approval of PETA management, could bankrupt PETA. This could be the end of them.”

Especially since courts and juries are likely to be less sympathetic to a political activist group than they would be to a legitimate news agency such as ABC News. Not to mention being more grist for the mill for any potential Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization suit against mainstream animal rights groups.


Secret agent for animals draws veterinarian’s suit. Mitchel Maddux, The Bergen Record, November 24, 2000.