Hagens Berman Files Consolidated Complaint against SeaWorld

Lawsuit Joins Together and Updates Three Separate Complaints Previously Filed by Consumers Against SeaWorld

LOS ANGELES – Hagens Berman today filed a consolidated complaint against SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: SEAS) joining three separate complaints previously filed by consumers. The complaint includes more recent evidence of what attorneys allege to be the misrepresented and undisclosed truth about the conditions and treatment of SeaWorld’s captive orcas.

The complaint follows SeaWorld’s unsuccessful effort to have the Multi-District Litigation (MDL) panel consolidate the action in Orlando, Florida.

SeaWorld has 45 days to respond to the filing of this complaint.

Hagens Berman originally filed a lawsuit on behalf of Plaintiff Holly Hall in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California challenging SeaWorld’s misrepresentations and material omissions concerning the treatment and conditions of its captive killer whales. During its signature Shamu shows and in its massive global marketing campaign SeaWorld states that it “cares for,” “protects” and “nourishes” its captive orcas, according to the complaint. “The deceptive and false illusion carefully scripted by SeaWorld and created for the public has concealed not only the mistreatment of these animals, but also concealed orca behavior that evidences how their captivity at SeaWorld is harmful to their welfare,” the complaint reads.

Consumers who have purchased tickets, memberships or SeaWorld orca experiences over the past four years at any of the three SeaWorld locations – San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio – may contact Hagens Berman by emailing [email protected] or by calling 206-623-7292. Additional information about the investigation is available at www.hbsslaw.com/cases/seaworld-consumer-lawsuit. To join this class action, consumers do not need to live in a state in which SeaWorld operates.

The complaint states, SeaWorld’s “orcas in the care of man” mantra is an “illusion [that] masks the ugly truth about unhealthy and despairing lives of these whales. This is a truth that, if known to the purchasing public at the time families make the decision to visit SeaWorld, buy a membership, or pay for an ‘exclusive park experience,’ would lead many of them to seek entertainment elsewhere.”

“We have spent months researching this issue and talking with world experts. Simply put, we believe that SeaWorld must finally tell the truth about the treatment and condition of its captive orcas and compensate those consumers that it has deceived,” Berman said. “It’s clear that the true condition of these orcas is not revealed to the public. Plaintiffs in this case would not have patronized SeaWorld had they known the disturbing truth.”

Plaintiffs Holly Hall, Paul Danner, Valerie Simo, Joyce Kuhl, and Elaine Browne purchased tickets to SeaWorld and its killer whale shows, and say they would not have purchased tickets had the true conditions and treatment of SeaWorld’s orcas been disclosed.

According to the consolidated complaint, SeaWorld confines its orcas to unhealthy, small tanks; forces apart orca families unnaturally, and calves from mothers in particular, for profit; forces unnatural breeding, including inbreeding, upon its captive orcas; uses pharmaceutical products to drug its orcas to handle the stresses caused by their confinement. As the complaint alleges, captivity at SeaWorld causes the orcas physical injury, including significant teeth damage, repeat sunburns, collapsed dorsal fins, and a shorter, more miserable life.

SeaWorld’s alleged misconduct violates, among other laws, California’s Unfair Competition Laws and Consumers Legal Remedies Act, California false advertising laws, Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practice law, the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act, and offends the common law prohibitions on deceit and unjust enrichment.

Consumers who have purchased tickets, memberships or SeaWorld experiences involving orcas over the past four years at any of the three SeaWorld locations – San Diego, San Antonio or Orlando – may contact Hagens Berman by emailing [email protected] or by calling 206-623-7292. Find out more about the class-action lawsuit against SeaWorld

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About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with offices in nine cities. The firm has been named to the National Law Journal’s Plaintiffs’ Hot List eight times. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.

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