A federal court has ordered Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden to pay $260,000 in attorney’s fees and costs to Animal Legal Defense Fund in its successful lawsuit over a state law that criminalized the surreptitious audio or visual recordings of agricultural operations.
The law was passed by the Idaho Legislature in 2014 and had been championed by the state’s dairy industry after Mercy for Animals filmed and released an undercover video showing animal abuse by three rogue employees on an Idaho dairy.
The video was released in October 2012 to the detriment of the owner, who had policy in place to prevent animal abuse, and his family. The dairy was sold in April of 2014.
Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the state over the law, and a district court ruled in 2015 the law violated free speech rights and issued an injunction against the law’s enforcement.
The state appealed, but the appeals court in January upheld most of the earlier ruling.
U.S. District Judge B. Lynne Winmill on Friday ordered the award of legal fees in an agreement reached by the parties, subject to approval by the Idaho State Board of Examiners and the Idaho Constitutional Defense Fund.
If either entity fails to approve the payment, Animal Legal Defense Fund will be entitled to file a court motion to seek an award, including the fees and costs incurred in bringing that motion.