Schumacher Furs Files Lawsuit Against City of Portland, In Defense of Animals, Animal Liberation Front and PETA

April 23, 2007

After 18 months of weekly (and sometimes daily) anti-fur demonstrations outside Schumacher Furs and Outerwear in downtown Portland, owners Gregg and Linda Schumacher filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Portland, In Defense of Animals, the Animal Liberation Front, PETA, and several named and unnamed individuals. The Schumachers seek damages for violation of their free speech and equal protection rights, as well as an injunction limiting the “time, place and manner” of demonstrations during the remaining weeks of their canceled lease.

Papers filed in the District Court of Oregon reveal that Portland police officers and elected officials have blamed Gregg and Linda Schumacher for escalating confrontations with the demonstrators. In a March 2006 email to Commissioner Randy Leonard attached as an exhibit to the lawsuit, Portland police Commander Dave Benson wrote that, while “a minority of the protestors have engaged in objectionable behavior”, the demonstrators are “well within First Amendment speech right[s]” and are “generally very nice people that have very strong beliefs about selling fur”. Benson noted that arrests had been made.

After meeting with the Schumachers and protest organizers, Commissioner Leonard concluded that the Schumachers “are an integral part of the problem”. Leonard also told the Oregonian newspaper that “they didn’t burn bridges — they blew them up”. Read more here.

See the Schumacher’s Complaint, Motion for a Preliminary Injunction and Brief in Support, and the declarations of Gregg Schumacher, Linda Schumacher, Scott Castleman (their private investigator) and Herbert Grey (their attorney).

[Update: Here is a link to the dispositive motions and supporting declarations filed by the animal rights defendants and the City of Portland.]

[Update: In a word, the Schumachers got spanked. Not only was their case against the demonstrators thrown out, the judge ordered the Schumachers to pay $97,000 to cover the defendants’ legal fees.]

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