September 3, 2021
Current and former officials with the Humane Society of the United States are defendants in a new lawsuit tied to a sexual harassment scandal at the organization.
The lawsuit, which names former CEO Wayne Pacelle, former COO Mike Markarian, and HSUS General Counsel Kate Karl, among others, is the latest in a story we’ve been following over the past year.
The new lawsuit is filed by Jeffrey Thomas, a former employee of HSUS’s lobbying arm. Thomas previously filed a lawsuit against the former secretary of Pacelle, accusing her of making false accusations against him after he spurned her advances. He claims she got him fired in late 2017–just months before a sexual harassment scandal involving Pacelle burst into public view, leading to Pacelle’s resignation.
The new lawsuit stems from information obtained by Thomas through discovery and depositions over approximately the past year in this first lawsuit, which is still ongoing.
The new lawsuit alleges defamation, retaliation, and breach of contract, among other torts.
It seeks $10 million.
The plaintiff claims Pacelle’s secretary had an “inappropriate, physical relationship” with him and that he reported his concerns about this alleged relationship to the defendants.