Exclusive Closing Argument Coverage: Attorney Scott Mager Closing Destroys Alleged “Eco-Terrorist” Group
Video used to convince Dominican Prime Minister that Ocean World tortured dolphin was expertly fabricated by group
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Attorney Scott Mager delivered a powerfully successful and impassioned closing in a case covered worldwide, alleging that defendants and their counsel intentionally doctored footage of a dolphin capture and attempted to masquerade it as part of Ocean World’s adoption of 12 dolphin for its enormously popular Dominican Republic location.
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The case involved Ocean World’s adoption of 12 dolphins from the famous Tajii Museum in Japan, the ultra-humane process where dolphins may be adopted through a very elaborate and detailed legal process. According to the actual evidence, Ocean World properly went through the processes and had a great track record of treating dolphins exceptionally. They were adopting 12 more dolphins, this time for their Dominican Republic location. The process for securing such dolphin starts with the adoption of the dolphins from the Tajii Museum in Japan, through a very sophisticated process which requires extensive evaluation and the securing of an exportation permit after a detailed certification protocol is met, which the dolphin met, then engaging in another process to secure an importation permit from the host location country.
This particular portion of the case alleging eight-figure damages involved Ocean World’s allegations against what they labeled as an eco-terrorist or radical environmentalists group, who, allegedly with the knowledge of the multiple large law firm(s) representing them, submitted doctored film footage that purported to depict that Ocean World was mutilating dolphins and torturing them. The Defendants and their lawyers alleged it was Ocean World that was specifically mutilating the dolphins and that the film they present to the Dominican Prime Minister was a depiction of the actual 12 dolphins that were sought to be adopted by Ocean World.
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Ocean World’s talented counsel conclusively established this to be false, and you may even see that in the defendant’s closing argument where they appear to concede that reality, but the film was so masterfully doctored that it was made to look like it was the Ocean World dolphin; if you saw the footage, you would recognize how only a real expert could have possibly detected such falsity in the footage.
The Prime Minister and/or other leaders of the Dominican Republic were shown this film. Rick O’Barry, who was featured in the Academy Award winning film “The Cove” and is well known in the dolphin industry as an anti-adoption advocate, specifically stated in footage and endorsed this footage as film of the specific 12 dolphin sought to be adopted by Ocean World.
The evidence showed this, too, to be false, and the evidence seemed to reflect that all defendants and their lawyers knew it or should have known it. Through the extensive financial and marketing efforts of Rick O’Barry and well-funded Earth Island Institute others, the tape also aired on one of Dominican’s Republic’s main television shows (a kind of Dominican Republic version of ‘Oprah’). As a direct result of this program and the specific showing of this footage to the Dominican Republic Prime Minister and other leaders (alleging it was Ocean World engaging in the specific torturing of the 12 dolphins it sought to adopt, the Dominican Republic government denied the importation permit – thus barring the dolphins from adopted by Ocean World. Ironically, the Defendant’s unlawful interference resulted in the death of the dolphin. Ocean World claimed tens of millions of dollars of financially documentable losses. Ocean World filed a massive lawsuit and tortious interference counts against a number of these defendants.
For this aspect of the case, very experienced Trial Lawyer Scott Mager was also retained to aid the Plaintiffs and their existing also-talented attorneys Alexander Penalta and Colleen Stiger. Mager, who had previously handled large trials in numerous jurisdictions and had been featured on major television and radio shows as an legal expert, had also been previously honored by a multi-million dollar conglomerate with their National Litigator of the Year Award. Mager also brought uniquely extensive knowledge of video editing because he owned a video production company.
Interestingly, the defendants and their counsel were quite dedicated to their defense, litigating at what some called a scorched-earth level, with the court and other documents already comprising over 88 boxes in multiple jurisdictions. Judges indicated that this was one of the largest matters they judged in their multiple decade careers.
It was clear that the defense lawyers were well prepared and had extensive knowledge of all aspects of the case, including the specific video footage in question.
The way this trial came to be was when Ocean World lawfully requested the defendants to produce all ‘original’ footage of the alleged video of the 12 dolphin. There was extensive court hearings required when Ocean World claimed that not all the footage was produced to them from Defendants. Defendants and their counsel finally and affirmatively represented and the defendants swore that the footage produced was all the footage of the 12 dolphin. Once it was determined that this was in fact doctored footage, Ocean World filed a Motion for Fraud on the Court, seeking sanctions against the defendants and their lawyers.
Ocean World vehemently denied that this footage had anything to do with Japan’s extraordinary exportation process that uses independent experts to certify that dolphins are humanely handled in accordance with multiple international and local laws. Ocean World successfully contended that the footage was doctored to look like the Ocean World dolphin and then commentary by Rick O’Barry and others was added, including in some parts that O’Barry and others stating that the filming occurred while they were actually physically present at the torture of such dolphin. The evidence appeared to clearly support Ocean World.
The video evaluation and accompanying expert analysis showed that the defendants had actually falsified the footage as being that of the 12 Ocean World dolphin, when it clearly was not. Attorneys Mager, Penalta and Stiger showed the evidence that the tape was doctored and that the defendants’ law firms knew or should have known it, and that in fact it was NOT footage of the 12 dolphins sought to be adopted, nor had anything to do with Ocean World. If you listen closely to the closing argument made by defendants, you may feel they even admit it.
After many weeks of testimony and evidence showing the false/fraudulent conduct with demonstration that the video did not portray the 12 dolphins sought to be adopted, and that Ocean World did not participate in any direct or indirect way in any actions or with regard to the film, the following represents the Closing Arguments in the case. Aside from the obvious passion and the clear control of the room exhibited in the plaintiff’s closing argument, you may be moved by the expert manner in which the Plaintiff lawyer (Mager) eventually and patiently convinced the judge through the closing argument and in the final rebuttal. For ease of viewing, the video has been divided into 3 parts, representing each argument.
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Plaintiff Ocean World Closing (Part 1 of 3)
Defendants’ Responsive Closing Argument (Part 2 of 3)
Plaintiff Rebuttal Closing (Part 3 of 3)