Archive for the ‘Erin Pelleteri’ Tag

Congratulations Baker and Donelson   Leave a comment

Congratulations! Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, Receives Pro Bono Award for Efforts in Animal Law from Animal Legal Defense Fund. Attorneys from Baker Donelson are providing pro bono assistance in Tony’s case.

August 28, 2012

(New Orleans, LA/August 28, 2012) Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, has been named the 2011 Advancement in Animal Law Pro Bono Achievement Award winner by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).

Over the last two years, Baker Donelson attorneys Monica A. Frois, Laura E. Carlisle, Erin Pelleteri, Brandy N. Sheely and Anne Derbes Wittmann have provided assistance to the ALDF in its efforts to secure the release of a Siberian-Bengal tiger. “Tony the Truck Stop Tiger” has been confined as a roadside exhibit at a Louisiana truck stop for more than ten years. Last year, a permanent injunction was granted against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries preventing it from renewing the truck stop owner’s annual permit when it expired at the end of 2011.  Since that time, the truck stop owner has filed separate litigation in an effort to keep Tony at the truck stop.  Baker Donelson is continuing to assist ALDF in its fight to free Tony.

The case has galvanized the ALDF’s membership, and the Firm’s support, experience and commitment of pro bono hours is helping the ALDF achieve its mission of protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system.

Through its commitment to pro bono representation, Baker Donelson provides legal services to groups and individuals likely to be marginalized in the legal system due to economic barriers. Over the years, the Firm’s attorneys have provided a variety of counsel to many populations, including immigrants, refugees, the elderly and the impoverished. Baker Donelson’s efforts include work on a wide range of matters, such as advocating for the homeless and organizations that serve the homeless, death penalty litigation, providing corporate legal services to non-profit organizations and much more.

Additional information on Baker Donelson’s Pro Bono efforts is available at http://www.bakerdonelson.com/pro-bono.

A national, non-profit organization, the ALDF was founded in 1979 by attorneys in the field of animal law pursuing the enforcement of anti-cruelty laws and humane treatment of animals. For more information, please visit www.aldf.org

http://www.bakerdonelson.com/baker-donelson-receives-pro-bono-award-for-efforts-in-animal-law/

Judge denies tiger appeal   Leave a comment

Advocate staff file photo by PATRICK DENNIS Tony, the Siberian-Bengal tiger on display at the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, on Dec. 2, 2010.

BY JOE GYAN JR.
Advocate staff writer
May 05, 2012

A judge refused Thursday to order the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to remove Tony the 550-pound tiger from a Grosse Tete truck stop enclosure where he has been kept for more than a decade.

State District Judge Mike Caldwell cited the separation of powers between the judicial and executive branches of government, and also said the Animal Legal Defense Fund and several other individually named plaintiffs lacked legal standing to try to compel LDWF to take action against the truck stop.

ALDF attorney Erin Pelleteri argued during a hearing that Tiger Truck Stop’s state permit for the Siberian-Bengal tiger expired Dec. 31. She said Michael Sandlin, owner of the Iberville Parish truck stop, is “blatantly’’ violating Louisiana law and endangering the public, and should be prosecuted.

“There is no permit in place. Mr. Sandlin is in violation of the law,’’ Pelleteri argued. “The department is doing nothing.’’

Jennifer Treadway Morris, an attorney for Sandlin and his truck stop, countered that the facility has a federal permit to house the tiger. She also disputed Pelleteri’s safety allegation.

“There is no public safety concern here,’’ Morris told the judge.

Sandlin, who attended the hearing, said afterward he loves tigers.

“I love Tony. I love (LSU’s) Mike the tiger,’’ he said. “The people of Grosse Tete want Tony to stay.’’

LDWF attorney Fred Whitrock argued during the hearing that ALDF and the individual plaintiffs, including Baton Rouge resident Brandi Sutten, have no direct interest in the outcome of the case but are merely morally opposed to Tony being displayed at the truck stop off Interstate 10.

“That is not sufficient for legal standing,’’ he said.

Sutten testified she visits Tony from time to time and finds it “emotionally draining’’ to see a tiger housed near an interstate, something she considers “inappropriate’’ and “absolutely crazy.’’

Morris told Sutten there are neighborhoods closer to Exxon’s Baton Rouge refinery than Tony is to the highway. After Sutten testified she has never visited Mike the tiger at LSU, Morris asked her if she is generally opposed to tigers being kept in cages or just opposed to Tony the truck stop tiger.

“Just Tony,’’ she acknowledged.

In response to an earlier ALDF lawsuit against LDWF, Caldwell last year barred the state agency from issuing any new permits to Tiger Truck Stop to keep 11-year-old Tony there. Sandlin has appealed that ruling to the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal.

Caldwell said a state permit can be issued only to an individual, not a corporation, and Tiger Truck Stop is the permit holder, not Sandlin.

If Sandlin’s appeal is ultimately denied, LDWF has said it would give Sandlin 30 days to move Tony to a sanctuary of Sandlin’s choosing.

Sandlin, in a suit he filed against the state and Iberville Parish in January, is challenging the constitutionality of a 2006 state law that banned private ownership of large and exotic cats.

The state law includes a grandfather exception that allows people to keep exotic cats as pets as long as the animals were legally owned before Aug. 15, 2006, when the law went into effect.

ALDF contends Tony was not legally owned by Tiger Truck Stop before that date because a 1993 Iberville Parish ordinance prohibits anyone from owning wild, exotic or vicious animals for display or exhibition.

Sandlin’s suit also says the ordinance is unconstitutional. He argues the ordinance does not have an exception for persons with proper permits under federal law.

ALDF has filed a petition to intervene in Sandlin’s suit. State District Judge Janice Clark is scheduled to hold a hearing on that request Monday.

http://theadvocate.com/home/2727217-125/judge-denies-tiger-appeal

From ALDF: Spotlight on Tony’s Pro Bono Team: Attorneys Frois, Pelleteri, and Sheely   Leave a comment

The Animal Legal Defense Fund would never be able to use the law to advance the interests of animals without the support of legal professionals nationwide. In this continuing series of spotlights, ALDF’s Animal Law Program salutes attorneys Monica Frois, Erin Pelleteri, and Brandy Sheely.

The laws intended to protect animals in this country are only as strong as the people willing to defend them. Thankfully for a lonely tiger named Tony, there are legal professionals like Monica Frois, Erin Pelleteri, and Brandy Sheely. Attorneys with New Orleans-based Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, this pro bono team has been providing tireless assistance to ALDF on behalf of Tony, an 11-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger, who has been on exhibit as a roadside attraction at a Grosse Tete, La., truck stop since 2000.

The truck stop’s owner, Michael Sandlin, has continued to refuse to relinquish Tony, even though the big cat lives in a chain-link enclosure without trees, a large water feature, complex vegetation, or any of the other enrichment that would simulate a natural environment and allow him to perform innate behaviors. Confined to a cage in the parking lot, Tony — who in nature would be roaming at least several square miles of territory — paces the floor, a sign that he is experiencing extreme stress. And because Sandlin sent three other tigers away after the USDA placed a limit on how many he could exhibit, Tony has been living alone since 2003.

In 2011, Monica, Erin, and Brandy, together with ALDF, requested a permanent injunction against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to revoke the annual permit that allows Sandlin to display Tony. On November 2, a Louisiana district judge granted the injunction, and although there is still more to do, this victory has helped pave the way for a future in which Tony can live in a sanctuary better suited to his needs.

“We’re relieved that Tony will be in an environment that is more humane and far more suitable than a cage at a truck stop,” says Monica. “We knew the law was on our side and are proud that we were able to assist the ALDF in ensuring that Tony’s cause was heard.”

Monica concentrates her practice on health care matters as well as complex litigation, insurance coverage, legal ethics, and professional responsibility litigation. She was appointed by the president of the Louisiana State Bar Association to serve on the Medical/Legal Interprofessional Committee of the Louisiana State Medical Society and Louisiana State Bar Association, a role that combined her experience representing the health care and legal industries. Monica graduated from Tulane University Law School in 1990.

Erin’s litigation experience includes defending insurers in matters related to serious personal injury, medical malpractice property claims, commercial general liability and premises liability. A 2006 graduate of Loyola University School of Law, she has also helped to defend nationwide collective actions brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act and related class actions across the country. Her tort experience includes defending against transportation-related claims in the railroad industry, product liability claims against equipment manufacturers and medical liability claims against a durable medical equipment provider.

Brandy earned her J.D. from Tulane University Law School, graduating magna cum laude in 2004. Like Monica, she concentrates her practice primarily in health care litigation, specifically in representing health care providers in medical malpractice and contract dispute claims. Brandy’s practice also includes business, bankruptcy, and commercial litigation, including the representation of secured creditors in connection with the enforcement and/or protection of their security interests in state, federal, and bankruptcy courts.

We at the Animal Legal Defense Fund are so grateful for the many hours of hard work these attorneys have devoted to assisting us in our legal quest to free Tony.

For more information about Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, please visit www.bakerdonelson.com. You can learn more about Tony’s case here.

To become a member of ALDF’s Animal Law Program and assist animals as part of our pro bono network, please complete and return our Attorney Membership Application.

Article Courtesy of The Animal Legal Defense Fund

Direct Link: http://www.aldf.org/article.php?id=1962

Tony The Tiger Wins Again! Freedom Is On The Horizon   Leave a comment

November 2, 2011 4:38 PM | Posted by Borden, Lisa
 

A very exciting day for our New Orleans attorneys, Erin Pelleteri, Brandy Sheely and Monica Frois! After a frustrating remand and a long wait, a Baton Rouge court has ruled that the permit that allowed Tony, a Siberian-Bengal Tiger, to be displayed in a roadside cage at a truck stop must be revoked and cannot be reissued. The ruling means that Tony could soon be on his way to a new home at a wildlife sanctuary, where he can enjoy a more natural environment, freedom to roam, and fresh air. What an amazing transformation this will be for Tony, after more than a decade of pacing back and forth in a cage while breathing exhaust fumes and being gawked at by tourists.

We can’t thank the Animal Legal Defense Fund enough for asking us to be a part of their fight to free Tony, and we can’t wait to see him moved to his new home! Tony, you’re OUTTA THERE!

http://www.bakerdonelson.com/one_good_turn/blog.aspx?entry=119

ALDF and Baker Donelson Join Forces to Free Tony the Truck Stop Tiger   Leave a comment

This post from Tony’s good friends Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC who provided pro bono assitance to The Animal Legal Defense Fund on behalf of Tony. Tony’s supporters greatly appreciate the tremendous dedication from both The ALDF and the attorneys of Baker & Donelson in obtaining a victory for Tony.

May 17, 2011 3:36 PM | Posted by Borden, Lisa

Pro bono work is nearly always rewarding (in the truest sense), but the joy of helping someone in need is also often tinged with sadness at the client’s plight. Often we are able to solve one part of the client’s situation, maybe even a major part, but overall life circumstances remain difficult. It’s not often we get to savor the sheer enjoyment of freeing a client from a life of confinement and mistreatment. Even less often is that client a Siberian tiger named Tony . . . .

Tony the Truck Stop Tiger is a ten-year old tiger who has lived virtually his entire life as a roadside attraction at a Louisiana truck stop. Sadly, Tony has been kept in a small bare cage at the side of the road, used to draw tourists to the truck stop. This magnificent animal’s existence has been reduced to pacing back and forth while cars and trucks drive past belching exhaust fumes, and people stand outside his cage to point and stare at him.

Tony’s plight is especially sad when you realize that there are more privately owned tigers in the United States today than are left in the wild throughout the world. Like Tony, many of them are kept as sideshows and photo opportunities, living in mean conditions without companionship, room to roam, or any semblance of a natural environment. While state and federal authorities fortunately have come to realize over the years how inhumane these situations are, it is taking far too long for new laws and regulations to catch up with those owners who are more interested in making a buck.

We first learned about Tony’s captivity from our friends at the Animal Legal Defense Fund. ALDF was founded by a group of lawyers in 1979, and since that time has been fighting every day for humane treatment of animals and strong enforcement of anti-cruelty laws. Over the years, ALDF has come to the rescue of mistreated animals in substandard shelters, endangered species imperiled by environmental threats, animals being tortured in the name of research, and animals being improperly hunted, just to name a few. Lucky for Tony that the ALDF took up his cause, aided by high profile support from Hollywood luminaries like Leonardo DiCaprio and Kristen Bauer.

We admire the ALDF’s dedication to the defense of animals, and were pleased when they asked us to join their fight to free Tony from the truck stop. Together with ALDF, our New Orleans pro bono team of Monica A. Frois, Erin Pelleteri and Brandy N. Sheely requested a permanent injunction against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to prevent the Department from renewing the annual permit that allows the owner of Grosse Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop to display Tony. On Friday, May 6, 2011, a judge in East Baton Rouge District Court granted the ALDF’s request, paving the way for Tony to be released to a better environment when the current permit expires in December 2011.  ALDF is now exploring possibilities for Tony’s new home in a wildlife sanctuary.

“We’re relieved that Tony will be in an environment that is more humane and far more suitable than a cage at a truck stop,” said Monica Frois. “We knew the law was on our side and are proud that we were able to assist the ALDF in ensuring that Tony’s cause was heard.”

Oh, and we want Leo DiCaprio’s autograph . . . .

http://www.bakerdonelson.com/one_good_turn/blog.aspx?entry=69

Baker Donelson Attorneys Assist ALDF in Securing Freedom for Tony the Truck Stop Tiger   Leave a comment

May 17, 2011

(New Orleans, LA/May 17, 2011) Attorneys with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, provided pro bono assistance to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) in its recently successful effort to secure the release of a Siberian-Bengal tiger that has been confined as a roadside exhibit at a Louisiana truck stop for more than ten years.

Baker Donelson attorneys Monica A. FroisErin Pelleteri and Brandy N Sheely worked with the ALDF’s legal counsel to request a permanent injunction against the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to prevent the Department from renewing the annual permit that allows the owner of Grosse Tete’s Tiger Truck Stop to display Tony the Truck Stop Tiger, as he has come to be known. On Friday, May 6, 2011, a judge in East Baton Rouge District Court granted the ALDF’s request, paving the way for Tony to be released to a new home when the current permit expires in December 2011.

“We’re relieved that Tony will be in an environment that is more humane and far more suitable than a cage at a truck stop,” said Ms. Frois. “We knew the law was on our side and are proud that we were able to assist the ALDF in ensuring that Tony’s cause was heard.”

The ALDF retained Baker Donelson because they wanted a legal team with experience and proven success in the areas of administrative matters and statutory construction.

Through its commitment to pro bono representation, Baker Donelson provides legal services to groups and individuals likely to be marginalized in the legal system due to economic barriers. Over the years, the Firm’s attorneys have provided a variety of counsel to many populations, including immigrants, refugees, the elderly and the impoverished. Baker Donelson’s efforts include work on a wide range of matters, such as advocating for the homeless and organizations that serve the homeless, death penalty litigation, providing corporate legal services to non-profit organizations and much more.

Attorneys in Baker Donelson’s New Orleans office are actively involved in the Homeless Experience Legal Protection (HELP) program, which provides free basic legal representation to the city’s homeless. Baker Donelson’s New Orleans attorneys are also very active in working with Louisiana Appleseed, which seeks to uncover and correct injustices and barriers to opportunity through legal, legislative and market-based structural reform, and in representing individuals seeking legal help through the Pro Bono Project of New Orleans.

Baker Donelson and its attorneys are frequently recognized for their pro bono efforts. In both 2010 and 2011, the Firm has been honored with the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award, which recognizes attorneys and law firms providing outstanding pro bono legal services to Louisiana citizens, including providing an exceptional number of hours dedicated to such services. And in December 2010, Baker Donelson was named the New Orleans Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year by the New Orleans Pro Bono Project, the second consecutive year the law firm received this honor. The Firm’s Louisiana offices have contributed more than 700 hours to the New Orleans Pro Bono Project, and many more hours to other pro bono causes.

Additional information on Baker Donelson’s Pro Bono efforts is available at http://www.bakerdonelson.com/pro-bono/.

A national, non-profit organization, ALDF was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing interests of animals through the legal system. For more information, please visit www.aldf.org.

http://www.bakerdonelson.com/baker-donelson-attorneys-assist-aldf-in-securing-freedom-for-tony-the-truck-stop-tiger-05-17-2011/

Note: You can thank  Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC on their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/BakerDonelson#!/BakerDonelson

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