Judge Says Suit by Animal Rights Group Against USC Can Proceed

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - An organization that claims USC abuses animals in its research can move forward for now with its lawsuit against the institution, a judge ruled.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dennis Landin overruled a motion by USC lawyers, who argued that plaintiff Stop Animal Exploitation Now lacked standing to bring the case and that it should be dismissed. He heard arguments Wednesday and took the case under submission, then ruled on Thursday.

Landin said that unlike in its previous pleadings, the plaintiff showed some evidence of ``economic injuries'' in its most recently amended complaint.

In its suit brought last June 24, the organization alleges that documents it obtained show USC routinely violates its mandatory research protocols, as well as applicable animal welfare laws and regulations. The complaint further alleges that USC ``claims it achieves the highest ethical standards in its research ... but privately, USC has a pattern and practice of subjecting animals to needless suffering and unnecessary cruelty.''

USC researchers killed baby animals by placing them in a carcass- disposal freezer while still alive, performed unauthorized surgeries and injections on animals, withheld post-operative care and failed to euthanize in a timely manner animals languishing with ulcerated tumors, according to the suit.

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