LOS ANGELES – An Acton animal sanctuary settled a lawsuit alleging that its private list of donors was wrongfully disclosed by a direct-mail company for use by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Dedication and Everlasting Love to Animals filed the lawsuit in August 2016 in Los Angeles Superior Court against MADD — which was later dropped as a defendant — and Northridge-based Adwest Mailers, alleging breach of contract, fraud and misappropriation of trade secrets.
The plaintiff filed a notice of settlement Monday, but no terms were divulged.
The lost value of the donor list was more than $1 million, according to the lawsuit, which additionally alleged Adwest was understating the number of mailings sent to the U.S. Postal Service for delivery to DELA donors, many of whom had complained they weren’t receiving the sanctuary’s monthly newsletter or acknowledgements for their contributions.
According to the lawsuit, the sanctuary is “arguably” the largest, no-kill, lifetime care animal sanctuary in the United States. A year after its incorporation in 1982, the organization contracted with Adwest and spent millions of dollars on direct-mail services, according to the suit, which said contributors’ names “have extreme and unique value to plaintiff and do have pecuniary value to other charities seeking contributions from the public.”
In August 2015, MADD began sending mailings to the sanctuary’s donors, prompting the plaintiff to send a letter demanding that the practice be stopped, the suit stated.
Adwest is the only entity that had the list of names of the sanctuary’s contributors, and the plaintiff believes the company disclosed the list in violation of the state Civil Code, according to the complaint.