Sea Shepherd’s Defense Team, Seattle Law Firm Harris and Moure, Files to Have Japan’s Law Suit Dismissed

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Boats from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society clash with Japanese whaling ships in the Southern Ocean

The whaling interests in Japan may soon regret their decision to attempt to try to use the American judicial system to stop the activists that interfere with Japan’s illegal whale slaughter in the protected Southern Ocean.

The brilliant law firm, Harris and Moure, filed a motion to dismiss Japan’s claims that acts of piracy and terrorism were committed  against them by the activists,  and the legal document illustrates why this is not even a question appropriate for the U.S. justice system in the first place.
The brief sums:

The world is horrified by Plaintiffs’ slaughter of threatened and endangered species under the guise of scientific research.
Japan has  consistently ignored international law and diplomacy, the world community, and court rulings.This case is Plaintiffs’  last-ditch effort to obtain a result they could not achieve anywhere else.
This dispute does not belong before this Court; it belongs in the international arenas capable of addressing the unique interests at stake.
Based on the foregoing Plaintiffs’ Complaint should be dismissed. This dispute is improperly before the Court and Plaintiffs’ Complaint fails as a matter of law and fact to state any justiciable claim for relief.

The following are highlights from the motion to dismiss (‘plaintiff’ refers to the Japanese consortium):

This dispute is improperly before the Court. Plaintiffs seek to prevent Defendants from
engaging in lawful activities to protect threatened and endangered whales in the Southern Ocean
Whale Sanctuary. Plaintiffs’ Complaint purports to create causes of action where none exist, seeks protection under treaties not meant to protect Plaintiffs, and asks this Court to further Plaintiffs’ illegal whaling activities. For these reasons and for the reasons set forth below, Plaintiffs’ Complaint should be dismissed.
-Though Sea Shepherd maintains an office in Friday Harbor, Washington, the alleged
activities of which Plaintiffs complain occurred in Australia, Japan and the Southern Ocean.
Planning for these Antarctic whale defense campaigns takes place on the vessels themselves, either
at port in Australia, or while at sea.
Defendants have never injured anyone, and Plaintiffs have not produced a single document to
substantiate their allegations of injury, despite Defendants’ multiple requests that they do so.
-The UN World Charter for Nature authorizes groups such as Sea Shepherd to act as a private
Coast Guard on behalf of international conservation law, and to take actions to prevent whaling.
-Recently, Plaintiffs’ activities have even provoked the ire of those outside the conservation
community, as it was revealed that the whalers had used $30 million in tsunami relief funds for their
-In this case, where the interests of both parties are more firmly rooted in Japan and Australia,
the majority of evidence and witnesses are found far outside this jurisdiction, and U.S. law does not
apply, this Court should exercise its discretion and decline jurisdiction on forum non conveniens
grounds. For this reason too, dismissal of Plaintiffs’ Complaint is proper.
Even more recently, the governments of the U.S., Australia, the Netherlands, and New Zealand issued a joint statement saying “We remain resolute in our opposition to commercial whaling, including so-called ‘scientific’ whaling.”

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