|PHOTO: Toronto Star|
Former Marineland trainer turned whistleblower Phil Demers has filed an amended Statement of Defense and Counterclaim against Marineland Canada. Filed on July 24th in St. Catharines, the counterclaim includes additional allegations against the facility and its owner John Holer since Demers filed his original statement of defense and counterclaim last year.
Marineland is suing Demers for $1.5 million dollars after he and other employees went public in 2012 alleging ongoing and persistent neglect of animals at the facility. In the suit Marineland alleges Demers trespassed on Marineland property and plotted to kidnap Smooshi the Walrus. Demers immediately fired back by counter-suing Marineland alleging defamation and abuse of process. Demers is seeking $1.5 million in damages and costs.
Among the allegations made in the 21 page document Demers alleges:
- Marineland has falsely accused him of wrongdoing and defamed him constantly through various means.
- Marineland has instructed employees to defame Demers when speaking about him or Smooshi with the public.
- Marineland has intentionally delayed moving forward litigation concerning himself and his girlfriend Christine Santos who is also counter-suing the park.
- The owner of Marineland John Holer has exhibited stalker-like behavior in relation to driving past the Demers & Santos residence, a matter that was brought to the attention of the Niagara Regional Police.
- New and disturbing allegations of threatening behavior by Marineland owner John Holer directed personally towards Phil Demers.
Marineland Canada is currently suing 3 ex employees, 2 activists and the Toronto Star newspaper. All defendants have filed their statements of defense or counterclaims and there has been no significant movement to push these lawsuits forward by Marineland. Legal experts have described the lawsuits as SLAPP suits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).