An animal-welfare group and its leader have been awarded $6.1-million by a court in damages as the result of a defamation suit brought against a former intern for the charity, according to Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Bat World Sanctuary, in Mineral Wells, Tex., brought suit again Mary Cummins, who interned at the organization in 2010. The suit charged that Ms. Cummins, who says she lives in the Los Angeles area, made libelous statements and videos about the charity and its leader, Amanda Lollar.
Ms. Cummins, who left her internship early, accused Ms. Lollar of illegally giving rabies vaccinations to people, performing “illegal surgeries” on bats without anesthesia, allowing interns to be repeatedly bitten by rabid bats, and breeding bats illegally, among other misconduct, said Randy Turner, Ms. Lollar’s attorney.
The former intern—who said she has been sued for defamation at least three times—also filed complaints against the charity and its leader with federal, state and local regulatory agencies, the suit said. Though all complaints were dismissed, the suit said, Ms. Cummins continued to publish on the Web that her claims were “under investigation.”
The result of such statements exposed Ms. Lollar to “public hatred, contempt or ridicule or financial injury,” the suit said.
Ms. Cummins, who acted as her own attorney during much of the case, called the decision by Tarrant County Court Judge William Brigham a “travesty of justice.”
She said believes her “reports are 100 percent the truth.” She added that she will appeal the verdict and cannot pay the award because she has “no money whatsoever.”