In a case of significant public import, Elias LLC helped an animal rights group put an end to inhumane slaughtering practices at on of the nation’s largest lamb slaughterhouses.
In 2017, Elias LLC filed a case on behalf of Compassion Over Killing (“COK”) against Superior Farms, Inc. under the False Claims Act, alleging, among other things, that Superior Farms (1) systematically violated humane slaughtering laws, (2) fraudulently relabelled “best by” dates on fresh meat to make the product appear fresher than it was, and (3) bypassed much of its product from metal detector lines designed to ensure that the product was free from contamination.
The misconduct was captured on video by an undercover investigator working with COK who infiltrated the slaughterhouse. The investigation and the evidence uncovered was thereafter featured in an article published by the New York Times.
On May 15, 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice partially intervened in the case, and entered into a settlement agreement with Superior Farms. As part of the settlement, Superior Farms entered into a consent decree whereby it agreed to take significant steps to ensure compliance with humane slaughter laws and regulations.
“This case represents a milestone for animal advocates, where a public advocacy organization teamed up with the federal government to set a standard for oversight and enforcement and to promote reform,” said Cheryl Leahy, Executive Vice President at COK.
The case was styled U.S. ex rel. COK v. Transhumance Holding Company, Inc. d/b/a Superior Farms, Inc., Case No. 2:17-cv-210-MCD-CKD.