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FEDERAL COURT SLAPS SANCTIONS ON FRIENDS OF ANIMALS (FoA) IN SUIT AGAINST UNITED STATES SURGICAL CORPORATION

 FEDERAL COURT SLAPS SANCTIONS ON FRIENDS OF ANIMALS (FoA)
 IN SUIT AGAINST UNITED STATES SURGICAL CORPORATION
 NORWALK, Conn., April 24 /PRNewswire/ -- In a courtroom session between United States Surgical Corporation (NYSE: USS) and animal rights activist Priscilla Feral of Friends of Animals, Federal Magistrate Thomas P. Smith sharply criticized the "obstreperous, obstructive, and obnoxious behavior" of Feral and Friends of Animals (FoA). Smith awarded United States Surgical Corporation attorney's fees to compensate for the costs of legal fees caused by improper tactics on the part of Friends and Animals.
 Magistrate Smith's ruling slapped plaintiffs Feral and FoA, pointing out that they filed a "sweeping and amorphous" complaint against the corporation and its Chairman, Leon C. Hirsch, which alleged that their reputations had been damaged and that Feral had been caused "emotional distress."
 Magistrate Smith wrote: "Having cut a broad swath with their complaint, the plaintiffs are now attempting to resist commensurately broad discovery into the basis of their claims. Their resistance is improper."
 The magistrate described Feral's and FoA's lawyers conduct as "so far beyond the pale that it is not even arguably defensible. The plaintiffs, through the actions of their attorney, cannot be permitted to complain that the process has not worked," Magistrate Smith wrote, warning that continued contempt for the court and its processes will not be tolerated in the future."
 Hirsch, chairman of United States Surgical Corporation, said that these developments confirm his belief "that the lawsuit by Friends of Animals and Priscilla Feral are a frivolous attempt to discredit and harm the company."
 Hirsch added, "The company has donated the full award for damages to a pet tattooing registration program, which is being implemented statewide by the National Dog Registry (NDR). This program has been developed to ensure that lost or stolen pets can be returned to their owners unharmed." FoA representatives stood up at U.S. Surgical's stockholders meeting last year and demanded U.S. Surgical's chairman to support the NDR program. Hirsch states, "It is ironic that Friends and Animals spends so much time and money on their lawyers and yet does not provide any financial support for the National Dog Registry, or any other registry program in Connecticut."
 -0- 4/24/92
 /CONTACT: Anneliz Hannan of United States Surgical, 203-845-1412/
 (USS) CO: United States Surgical Corporation ST: Connecticut IN: HEA SU:


SH-OS -- NY011 -- 2323 04/24/92 09:52 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 24, 1992
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