Jurors needed less than two hours to decide in favor of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in a suit filed by two animal rights activists who had claimed they were harassed for trying to videotape the backstage treatment of animals, an attorney for the circus said.
In a suit filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose in 2011, Deniz Bolbol and Joseph Patrick Cuviello had claimed they were harassed when Ringling employees pointed lasers at their video cameras and used ropes and water blasts to interfere with their taping of the animals at San Jose's HP Pavilion in August 2010, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
But Ringling's attorney, Ruby Kazi, told the newspaper when jurors went out at 2:47 p.m. Thursday they returned at 4:05 p.m., deciding unanimously in favor of the circus.
Jurors had determined the two plaintiffs were "just trying to drum up a lawsuit," Kazi said.
But Bolbol and Cuviello, who say they've been gathering evidence of the alleged mistreatment of elephants for 10 years through their group Humanity Through Education, said they will continue to press for animal rights.
"This is just the latest in a long series of cases that Pat and I have been forced to bring because of Ringling's attempts to stop us from documenting the abuse of their animals," Bolbol said Saturday.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.