Lawsuit of the Day, Pets

Lawsuit of the Day: Weil Gotshal Loves Puppies!

Lhasa Apso rocks.JPGThe recently released Michael Vick can expect no quarter from most animal lovers. I forget how long he was in jail, but if his sentence didn’t involve a dog biting him in the ass every day, then it wasn’t long enough.
But Vick is (or was) merely a retailer in the world of inhumane treatment of animals. The real outrage should be directed at the wholesalers. And that is just what Weil Gotshal appears to be doing. The firm won a major victory against the alleged puppy mill Wizard of Claws, in Broward County Circuit Court:

The Broward County Circuit Court has issued a ruling refusing to dismiss several defendants from a major class action lawsuit against a south Florida puppy dealer known as “Wizard of Claws.” The suit, filed in 2007, accuses Wizard of Claws, its owners, and its affiliates of defrauding customers by misrepresenting the origin of puppies, and by selling puppy mill dogs who suffer from severe health problems and genetic defects.
The court’s order allows plaintiffs to proceed with their claims against three entities sharing common ownership with Wizard of Claws — Celebrity Kennels, Inc., Dog Breeder Kennel, Inc. and Puppies for Sale, Inc. — and also directs the defendants to turn over records regarding the puppies they have sold to the public. The court also ordered the owners of Wizard of Claws to sit for depositions concerning their business practices.

This victory has been a long time coming for lawyers at Weil Gotshal. More details after the jump.

Weil has been fighting this battle so hard that the recently fired Quinn Emanuel associate might want to put in a resume to the firm:

The class action lawsuit is the result of years of legal investigation by the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and lawyers of The HSUS. Through extensive investigation, Weil and The HSUS [Humane Society of the United States] uncovered reports of serious, systematic violations of Florida’s animal and consumer protection laws by Wizard of Claws, its owners and its corporate affiliates. The violations include allegations concerning the sale of sick puppies with life-threatening genetic defects and highly contagious parasitic infections, and the refusal to reimburse customers for either the purchase price of sick puppies or veterinary treatments that sometimes cost thousands of dollars.

Generally speaking, buying a dog at a pet store or over the internet (eek!) is one of the worst things you can do. Pet stores are a volume business, while professional and accredited dog breeders focus on quality over quantity. And if you can’t pay the freight for an expensive breeder, there are tons of lovable animals languishing in pounds and pet rescues across the country.
Not surprisingly, Weil is doing this work for free. But does this mean Weil is a dog-friendly place? Wouldn’t a “bring your pet to work” day be awesome for employee morale (less awesome for building maintenance morale, to be sure)? If you want to be the firm that loves puppies, you might as well throw your employee/pet-lovers a bone.
Judge Orders Class Action Lawsuit To Proceed Against Infamous Florida Puppy Dealers [The Humane Society]

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