Let’s Hope the Courts Are Again Sensible

Van burned by animal rights terrorists, June 2008

From the Daily Bruin website:

An animal rights activist group filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the University of California Board of Regents demanding that UCLA release documents regarding its use of animals in research. Stop Animal Exploitation Now, the organization that filed the lawsuit, claimed the organization does not know whether UCLA is violating any laws regarding animal use in research. The lawsuit seeks to obtain information that would enable the organization to learn whether any violations have occurred, the organization said…
Stop Animal Exploitation Now said it submitted a request for specific records on the care of nonhuman primates in August of this year. The organization said it was willing to redact and withhold the identities of any researchers as well as the location of UCLA research. In a statement in response to the lawsuit, UCLA said the release of such information has in the past led to violent and criminal acts against the university’s employees. The university said it constantly tries to balance the public’s right and the critical need to protect its researchers…
The Los Angeles Superior Court ruled against Stop Animal Exploitation Now in a similar case in 2010. The court said UCLA is not obligated to produce certain records about animal research, stating such a release “would result in a significant and specific risk of unlawful intimidation and physical harm to the researchers … and to their families.”
As we have noted in prior posts on privacy of emails and other documents, no such lawsuit could even be filed against private universities which conduct medical or biological research such as Stanford or USC.  Given the history related to this issue, the court should be very cautious about any releases it orders.