Larry Iser, Kristen Spanier and Greg Gabriel scored a major victory for our client SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment: the dismissal, with prejudice, of three nationwide putative class action lawsuits in which the Plaintiffs claimed they purchased tickets to visit SeaWorld based on alleged misrepresentations about the health and safety of the killer whales in SeaWorld’s care.
The KHIKS team previously had obtained dismissal of the original class action complaints on multiple grounds, including that Plaintiffs had failed to specifically identify the supposedly misleading statements on which they claim to have relied. In dismissing plaintiff’s amended Complaint, the Court noted that, notwithstanding the Court’s prior admonition that Plaintiffs were required to specifically identify the supposedly misleading statements, plaintiffs had failed to do so. Further noting that plaintiffs had treated their amended pleading as “an opportunity to seek reconsideration of the Court’s prior dismissal order than as a chance to remedy the pleading deficiencies identified in that order,” the Court dismissed Plaintiffs’ remaining claim “with prejudice,” meaning that plaintiffs’ only remedy would be to seek an appeal.
A spokesman for SeaWorld San Diego commented that Judge Bencivengo’s decision marked a significant win for the company:
“[The ruling] underscores that we have never misled consumers about our orcas or their lives at SeaWorld,” the spokesman said. “After multiple tries, these plaintiffs could not establish their false allegations. And while it is possible they may attempt to appeal from today’s rulings, we are confident that courts will continue to see through these baseless claims.”
The case was a consolidation of three actions into a single action pending before the Honorable Cathy Ann Bencivengo in the Southern District of California: Gaab et al v. SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., 3:15-cv-00842-CAB-RBB; Hall v. SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., 3:15-cv-00660-CAB-RBB; Simo et al v. SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. 3:15-cv-01022-CAB-RBB. KHIKS’s co-counsel in these cases is John Simpson, Michelle Pardo and Rebecca Bazan of Norton Rose and Fulbright.
You can read the Court’s full opinion by clicking on “Download PDF.”