Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Friday, June 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Woman, 90, Claims PETA Defamed Her

VISTA, Calif. (CN) - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals defamed a 90-year-old woman who raises chinchillas as pets, in videos "laced with photos and video of other chinchilla farms," to raise money for itself, the woman claims in court.

Lurlie Adams dba Valley View Chinchilla Ranch sued PETA, Lisa Lange, Sam Simon, and the SamSimon Foundation, in Superior Court.

Lange is a senior vice president of PETA.

The Superior Court lawsuit describes Simon as the former producer of "Cheers" and the "Drew Carey Show" and a co-creator of "The Simpsons." He has given so much money to PETA that the group named its Norfolk, Va., headquarters after him, Adams claims.

She accuses PETA, Simon and Lange of "act(ing) in concert to secretly film and then malign Ms. Adams to effectuate a 'rescue' operation of the Adams chinchillas, who in fact were not in need of rescue at all, and were left in a far worse position after their alleged "rescue.'"

Adams claims that a dozen of her chinchillas died of heat and overcrowding after the defendants "rescued" them.

Adams minces no words in her 19-page lawsuit, with 30 pages of attachments.

"In this very malicious and negligent case, 90-year-old Ms. Adams, a breeder of chinchillas for pets from Vista, California for over 30 years, is informed and believes and thereon alleges [that] PETA, Ms. Lange and Mr. Simon conspired to conduct a clandestine and pretextual investigation which was then laced with photos and video of other chinchilla farms to falsely and maliciously accuse Ms. Adams of breeding chinchillas for 'pelts,' as a 'fur farm,' falsely/negligently accusing her of cruelty to her chinchillas in order to incite public sympathy and by doing so, raise funds/donations for PETA. In fact, Ms. Adams is a decent and kind woman who lovingly took care of her and her customers' chinchillas for decades, who was trampled and abused by the malicious, selfish, misplaced animal rights and fund-raising agendas of PETA, Ms. Lange and Mr. Simon."

Without citing a source, Adams says: "It is widely reported that PETA, after making some efforts to adopt or place various animals, kills/euthanizes nearly 90 percent of the animals it purports to "rescue.'"

PETA's home state, Virginia, requires animal shelters to report the number of dogs and cats they take in each year, Adams says in the lawsuit. She claims that Virginia state records show that of the 35,833 dogs and cats PETA took in from 1998 to 2013, "1,015 were transferred, 3,224 were adopted, and a staggering 31,190, or 87 percent, were killed by PETA."

Adams describes it as a thoroughly planned, thoroughly bogus operation.

"PETA and Mr. Simon, through counsel, made private, confidential arrangements with her to buy her chinchillas and her business for $50,750 and then falsely and fraudulently told the Humane Society shelters they had investigated Ms. Adams' chinchilla ranch and had discovered abuses, torture and killing of the animals for their effort to effectuate a 'rescue' of the chinchillas. In fact, Ms. Adams' chinchillas were being treated very humanely and were being raised and offered for sale as pets for over 30 years."

Finally, Adams claims that "after she sold her chinchillas and cages, etc. to Mr. Simon in a 'straw man' confidential contract for purchase, she was falsely accused of torture, abuse, cruelty and PETA widely publicized these alleged animal rights violations to orchestrate a 'rescue' of Ms. Adams' chinchillas when, in fact, the chinchillas were purchased, taken from their home, health and comfort, distributed to various Humane Societies and animal shelters and thereafter many died/will be euthanized as a result of being forcibly displaced to less favorable living conditions, extreme hot weather, or were euthanized as a direct result of the secret straw man purchase and then so called 'rescue' misconduct of PETA, Ms. Lange and Mr. Simon."

Adams seeks punitive damages for defamation, privacy invasion, fraud in the inducement, unfair business practices, injury to business reputation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

She is represented by Michael Curran, with Curran & Curran, of San Diego.

Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.