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Hagan v. Feld Entertainment, Inc. d/b/a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

365 F. Supp. 2d 700 (2005)

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Hagan v. Feld Entertainment, Inc. d/b/a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

365 F. Supp. 2d 700 (2005)

Facts

Frank Hagan (plaintiff) was a lion handler for Feld Entertainment, Inc. (defendant). In July 2004, Feld Entertainment transported multiple lions by train from Arizona to California. As the train was traveling through the Mojave Desert, the air temperature reached over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Hagan requested that the train stop so that he could water down the lions and check on their well-being. The train master refused to do so. One of Hagan’s coworkers tried to contact their general manager to override the train master but was unsuccessful. As a result, Hagan was unable to check on the lions for almost six hours, during which time the lions had no access to drinking water. The incident resulted in one lion’s death. The incident was also a violation of multiple regulations promulgated under the Animal Welfare Act, such as not subjecting animals to temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit and requiring that animals within commerce are checked on every four hours. Following the lion’s death, Hagan was instructed to remove the lion and not discuss the incident with anyone. Hagan refused to comply and was terminated. Hagan filed a cause of action for wrongful discharge. Hagan then filed a motion to remand the case to state court, and Feld Entertainment filed a motion to dismiss.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Smith, J.)

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