Fort Worth, TX, June 14, 2012 -
As you may be aware, the courts found that Bat World Sanctuary has been the target of a malicious and deliberate defamation campaign launched by Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates and Cummins Real Estate Services. This smear campaign lasted almost two years. We are happy to report that our battle is finally over, and we arose victorious.
Bat World Sanctuary and Amanda Lollar were represented pro-bono by Randy Turner, one of the best animal rights attorneys in the country. Turner was voted “Texas Super Lawyer” 2009, 2010, 2011, & 2012, and has never once lost an animal rights case. Mr. Turner and his paralegal, Kelly Bozeman, worked tirelessly for Bat World Sanctuary throughout this ordeal.
Mary Cummins was accepted for an internship at Bat World in 2010, and left disgruntled only a few days after arriving. Shortly thereafter, she began posting horrific allegations of animal cruelty and neglect against our Founder and President, Amanda Lollar, and made repeated complaints to animal welfare groups and government agencies, including the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the USDA, the Texas Department of Health, the Texas Attorney General, the Department of Justice, the IRS, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Texas Veterinary Board, and the Mineral Wells Chief of Police, City Manager, Fire Marshal, Code Enforcement, Health Inspector, and District Attorney. Lollar welcomed investigations, and every agency that investigated found Cummins complaints to be completely without merit.
As she has done in previous lawsuits, Cummins represented herself throughout most of the case and during trial. Cummins’ former attorney, Neal Callaway, withdrew from representing her after she accused him of sleeping during her court-ordered deposition. Cummins went on to accuse Randy Turner of touching her hand inappropriately during this same deposition, despite the fact that seven people and two video cameras were present in the room (and no such behavior was either witnessed or recorded). Ms. Cummins was also found in Contempt of Court.
Cummins has been involved in over 20 lawsuits and has been sued four times for defamation.
The trial, which lasted four days, also included the testimony of two veterinarians who have worked with Amanda Lollar, as well as former Bat World interns. Both veterinarians testified that they would rather take an injured bat to Amanda Lollar than attempt to rehabilitate it themselves. One vet even testified that she would drive a bat from South Dakota to Texas so it could receive Amanda Lollar’s care. Lollar testified to Cummins history of victimizing others using the internet. Bat World Sanctuary and Amanda Lollar sought 4-million dollars in damages due to Cummins’ outrageous acts.
At the trial’s conclusion, Judge William Brigham compared Lollar’s reputation in caring for bats to that of Jane Goodall’s care for primates. The Judge stated that Cummins defamation of Lollar was egregious, intentional and malicious. He awarded a judgment of 6.1 million in damages. His verdict was read immediately after closing statements. Turner stated that it is rare for a Judge to deliver an immediate verdict at the end of trial.
While we prevailed in this fight, our cyber-harasser continues to post defamatory and false information on the Internet about Bat World Sanctuary, Amanda Lollar and Randy Turner. We doubt that we will ever see any portion of the 6.1 million dollar judgment awarded to us, however, our plans to raise the funds for a larger sanctuary, complete with indoor-outdoor flight cages and a teaching hospital, will continue. And, of course, we will share videos and photos of our progress.
Lollar, who has authored both scientific and popular literature, plans to write a book about her personal nightmare regarding this case. She hopes to bring about changes in the legal system regarding internet harassment and stalking as there are few legal remedies available to victims. This type of vicious behavior is on the rise and lifelong careers can be ruined with a few simple clicks of the mouse. Proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit Bat World Sanctuary.
Thank you, our treasured Bat World members, for supporting us throughout this ordeal.