Filed Under: Celebrities

Kennedy (finally) Hog-Tied by the Courts

In a stunning blow to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s personal jihad against the U.S. pork industry, a federal judge in Tampa has dismissed a lawsuit brought against pork producer Smithfield Foods by lawyers representing Kennedy and his organization, the Water Keeper Alliance. Even more embarrassing for the silver-spooned environmentalist: Kennedy and his legal team have been ordered to pay Smithfield’s attorney fees and court costs.

In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich wrote that the Water Keeper Alliance’s legal complaint “failed to state anything at all” worthwhile, and that “no reasonable attorney… could reasonably believe that [the lawsuit] had any reasonable chance of success.”

Kennedy’s lawsuit, which literally accused Smithfield of racketeering (among other things) was just his latest in a long line of attacks on American livestock agriculture. In a tour of Midwestern towns earlier this year, Kennedy compared domestic pork producers to Osama bin Laden, saying that they represented “[a] threat… greater than that in Afghanistan.” But Farmers shouldn’t expect an apology , says the Des Moines Register, noting that Iowa residents saw Kennedy’s comments “simply as an attack on agriculture.”

Despite this recent judicial setback, Water Keeper attorney Dan Estrin told the Associated Press that the Water Keeper Alliance still has two pending North Carolina lawsuits, and “those cases are alive and well.” But why press onward? Follow the money: Kennedy himself has estimated that the right lawsuit could bring “damages” of up to $13 billion (that’s “billion,” with a B). Divide the likely attorney’s “commissions” among Water Keeper’s 11-firm legal dream team, and Kennedy’s own two-partner law office could have a $200 million payday.

Speaking for the Water Keepers, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has made no bones about his endgame, telling the Los Angeles Times: “I promise you this: We will march across this country and we will bring these kind of lawsuits against every single pork factory in America if we have to.” And referring to beef and poultry producers, he has also warned: “We’re starting with hogs. After the hogs, then we are going after the other ones.”

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