HSUS Denied Insurance Coverage in Racketeering Lawsuit

The Humane Society of the United States, two of its lawyers, and its affiliate the Fund for Animals have paid $15.75 million, along with other animal rights activists, as a multi-party settlement of a federal racketeering lawsuit. Today, HSUS put out a defiant statement—a rather odd tactic when you have egg on your face—claiming, among other things, that “We expect that a substantial portion, if not all, of the settlement costs to The HSUS and The Fund for Animals will be covered by insurance, and in the end, that no donor dollars from The HSUS will go to Feld.” (Feld is the owner of Ringling Bros. circus and sued HSUS.) HSUS CEO Wayne “I don’t love animals” Pacelle asserted, “In the end, no donor dollars from The HSUS will go to Feld.”

There’s just one small problem: HSUS doesn’t have any insurance coverage for this litigation.

Last year, HSUS sued its liability insurance company, National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, for denying HSUS insurance coverage in the RICO litigation. Indeed, HSUS admits in its lawsuit against the insurance company that it is not covered for the racketeering lawsuit:

“28. Plaintiffs [HSUS and two HSUS lawyers] are now required to defend themselves in the Feld Litigation without the benefit of the insurance that HSUS (and its affiliates) purchased from Defendant National Union to protect them.” […]

“33. HSUS, Lovvorn, and Ockene are currently deprived of insurance coverage for which HSUS paid […]”

According to the suit, the insurance company alleges HSUS did not make a timely claim after it was sued by Feld in 2010 for bribery, obstruction of justice, and other torts. HSUS says it went by the book.

According to federal court records, this lawsuit between HSUS and its insurance company is still ongoing. The latest filing (yesterday) was a reply to a response to a motion to strike.

So as far as we can tell, HSUS is currently denied liability insurance for this case. Perhaps HSUS is confident that it will eventually prevail and get coverage. But for HSUS to say at this point that no donor money is at risk in the $16 million multi-party settlement seems misleading at best. We would call it a bald-faced lie, but you’ll note that HSUS wrote the weasel words “We expect” and “In the end.”

HSUS chose to omit the inconvenient truth from its statement—that, as of now, its coverage for the RICO lawsuit has been denied by its insurer.

But from a group that deceives its donors and (allegedly) paid a witness, taking the high road and being fully honest with the public and the media doesn’t seem to be the top priority—if it’s a priority at all.

Posted on 05/16/2014 at 2:07 pm by Humane Watch Team.

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  • Freedome-Lover

    LOVE IT!!!! Wonder if THAT’s why they xferred $25mill to the Cayman’s?????

    Good work, Feld Entertainment!!!! THANX!!!!!

  • Katherine Mixie Kubicek

    Isn’t that lovely. “Someone else will pay for our crimes!” Also, those scam artists’ pockets are stuffed with donor money. Everything creepy Wayne has was first donor money. There is no conceivable reality in which donated funds are not used to settle this tab. They are repulsive.

    • DC

      Wayne has some nerve asking Feld to use money for actual animal care. Wow.

  • elaine hanson

    Well, let’s see – HSUS has to cough up $16 million for causing 14 years’ worth of bad faith litigation. That’s about $1,120,000 for each year. How does that compare to what HSUS has given to pet shelters this century?

  • Karenh

    I wonder if H$U$ will ever figure out that maybe it’s time to stop digging.

  • Spinner123

    Schadenfreude.

  • Marcella Covault

    So glad HumaneWatch researched this. Weasel-wording sociopathic arrogant Pacelle caught with more egg on his face. Donors must be brainwashed to support the H$U$.

  • mewillie

    Ha Ha Ha Ha! The chickens have come home to roost! The Animal Rights Nazis at HSUS are finally getting theirs.

  • Calvin Rice

    can’t help smiling & feeling good about this. let the lying bastards have it with both barrels

  • Huskymum

    Donor money paid for the insurance premiums. Insurance does not cover intentional acts. Insurance also means that anyone who paid for a policy with that same carrier will be footing the bill for HSUS, if the insurance does pay.
    The only action that will really be just is the corporate death sentence for HSUS and to indict their executives, starting with Wayne. HSUS needs to be dissolved and their assets dispersed across the country to REAL animal shelters.

  • loveofcircus

    is there a source for this story?

  • HardDriver

    Kind of sad, really. I used to donate to the HSUS and PETA. I quit donating to PETA a couple of years ago after they were caught killing and throwing animals bodies in a dumpster, IIRC. Now I donate to Defenders of Wildlife, Alley Cat Allies, Jane Goodall and a few other animal rights organizations. I kind of had a feeling HSUS was bad after hearing a couple years ago that W. Pacelle and company had millions in bank accounts and were doing very little to help animals.