PETA et al. v. Cooper et al.
We are lead counsel on behalf of a coalition of public interest groups in a constitutional challenge to North Carolina’s “Anti-Sunshine” law—a statute that, like Ag-Gag laws, allows employers and property owners to sue undercover investigators who wish to blow the whistle on unethical or illegal activities in the workplace. Under the law, organizations and journalists who conduct undercover investigations, and individuals who expose improper or criminal conduct by North Carolina employers, are susceptible to suit and substantial damages if they make such evidence available to the public or the press. The law’s text and legislative history confirm that the statute’s primary objective is to stop undercover investigations by what the legislature termed “private special-interest organizations,” particularly those focused on animal agriculture and food health and safety.
The Plaintiffs group consists of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Center for Food Safety, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Farm Sanctuary, Food & Water Watch, Government Accountability Project, Farm Forward, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The New York Times has published an editorial endorsing the challenge.
The State has moved to dismiss and we have opposed their motion. We are awaiting a decision from the Court.