Attorney John Phillips appeared this week on Dateline NBC, discussing the disappearance of Don Lewis and the office’s case against Carole Baskin
CASE UPDATE: Anne McQueen v. Carole Baskin (“Tiger King”)
People are searching for details of today’s hearing in the family of Don Lewis and Anne McQueen versus Carole Baskin and others. All issues were worked out so there was no hearing.
When originally filed in July, this was a case seeking information only. Over the past few months, we obtained some of that information, such as Susan Aronoff admitting in a court document that Don Lewis’s power of attorney was not witnessed or signed by her. We conducted many interviews and gathered lots of information. Based on that information, we have updated our clients.
It was always an intent to file a lawsuit for damages. We have done so on behalf of Anne McQueen, Don Lewis’s longtime assistant. Back in 1997-1998, Anne was defamed and mistreated. Carole Baskin ultimately wrote her an apology and the conservatorship parties settled her claims for $50,000. However, she is back in the same shoes she was then with the same lies being told about her. It is actually worse now due to the proliferation of social media and the national interest in the case. Our lawsuit focuses on this. She had nothing to do with Don’s death, stealing from Don or anything of the sort. Proving who did actually helps her case.
Lawyers have being doing what lawyers do behind the scenes and we met with all of the defense lawyers and worked out all pending motions before the hearing, gave extensions to some of the new parties to respond and otherwise moved the damages case forward. We have also formally requested Carole Baskin’s deposition. As a result of the stipulations, no hearing was necessary today.
Now that we have a ripe, ready lawsuit for damages, we have dropped the pure bill for discovery. This formally ends our representation of Donna, Lynda and Gale. We are here if they need anything. I will always cherish our time getting the word out for JUSTICE FOR DON LEWIS and that fight continues.
We strongly urge all people interested in Justice for Anne and Justice for Don to understand this isn’t a competition, this isn’t a television show and no one is bigger than justice. We urge everyone to embrace everyone who is helping. We also remind you that illegal or unethical actions taken in the name of justice is injustice.
I close with this. Anne McQueen is special. After we shot that now-famous commercial, I dropped her off at her house and kissed her on the cheek and said, it is an honor to know you Anne McQueen. We will prosecute and defend that honor in every way. Justice matters. And is coming.
Statement about Amended Lawsuit (9/22/20):
We issue the following statement related to this new lawsuit:
On August 7, 2020 my clients filed a lawsuit for information against Carole
Baskin, Kenneth Farr and Susan Bradshaw. Defendants requested more information in support of our Pure Bill of Discovery. We have amended that lawsuit and provided over 40 pages of support of the need for discovery, mostly in Carole Baskin’s own words.
Additionally, we have filed a lawsuit for defamation and various breaches
against Carole Baskin, Howard Baskin and Big Cat Rescue. Since 1997, Anne
McQueen has been the victim of lies by Carole Baskin. Mrs. Baskin even admitted these lies in 1998, apologizing for them in a written statement. She also settled Anne McQueen’s claims for libel and slander at that time, paying $50,000. These exact same false statements, and additional ones, are being made again in 2020. It is malicious. Making matters worse, Howard Baskin is making these same statements publicly, as is Big Cat Rescue. As such, they have been added as Defendants.
No interviews will be granted.
*Licensed to practice in New York, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, the District of Columbia and Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Florida Bar
Amended Pure Bill of Discovery and Anne McQueen’s Lawsuit for Defamation and Breach of Contract and Fiduciary Duties:
Our Amended Complaint was filed September 22, 2020 to address the Motions to Dismiss, amend our Pure Bill of Discovery and, most importantly to bring a lawsuit for damages on behalf of Anne McQueen. Styled Donna L. Pettis, Lynda L. Sanchez, Gale L. Rathbone and Anne McQueen v. Carole Baskin, Susan Bradshaw and Kenneth Wayne Farr, Howard Baskin, Big Cat Rescue Corp and Big Car Rescue and Sanctuary, the lawsuit is one in equity (fairness), designed to obtain discovery to get to the bottom of the death and disappearance of Don Lewis and now contains a lawsuit (damages) on behalf of Anne McQueen.
Download the Complaint and supporting documents here:
Motion to Strike Non-Responsive Filing by Susan Bradshaw:
Susan Bradshaw’s response was not legally compliant. Under Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.515(b), “Pro Se Litigant Signature. A party who is not represented by an attorney shall sign any document and state the party’s address and telephone number, including area code.” It includes neither. While it made an admission that the Power of Attorney was NOT signed by her, she failed to sign that statement and is required to do so. We always try to assist pro se parties and will accept a response to the amended complaint as a sufficient correction.
Motion To Determine Qualifications of Counsel for Kenny Farr:
Our office has been contacted my a person who was previously threatened with a defamation action on behalf of Big Cat Rescue Defendants and/or the Baskin Defendants. While this does not mean the same lawyer cannot represent Kenny Farr, we wanted to bring this court’s attention.
Non Responsive Filing filed by Susan Bradshaw:
Motion to Dismiss filed by Kenny Farr:
Motion to Dismiss filed by Carole Baskin:
As expected, Ms. Baskin’s lawyers filed a Motion to Dismiss. We will get this set for hearing. We knew this would be an issue given how infrequently a Pure Bill of Discovery is filed. If we do not prevail, we will file a lengthy lawsuit for damages. This may be inevitable, given the ongoing defamation. However, the point of a Pure Bill is to simplify the issues and get to the bottom of those issues.
Original Lawsuit / Pure Bill of Discovery:
Styled Donna L. Pettis, Lynda L. Sanchez, Gale L. Rathbone and Anne McQueen v. Carole Baskin, Susan Bradshaw and Kenneth Wayne Farr, the lawsuit is one in equity (fairness), designed to obtain discovery to get to the bottom of the death and disappearance of Don Lewis.
Amended Commercial: Justice for Don Lewis
Original Commercial: Justice for Don Lewis
(nearly one million views)
Case Update: Commercial Coming:
Case Update: Carole Baskin on Dancing with the Stars
Case Update: Status Update
Select Television Coverage of the Case:
Good Morning America:
Attorney John M. Phillips has been retained by the family of Don Lewis and his former assistant Anne McQueen. Lewis’s disappearance regained media attention early this year after being covered in the 2020 crime documentary series Tiger King. Phillips will announce the course and scope of his involvement at a press conference on Monday, August 10 at 11 a.m. at the Riverhills Church of God (located at 6310 E Sligh Avenue in Tampa, Florida).
Phillips is best known for his work in the fields of wrongful death and constitutional and civil rights. He says, “Justice is spelled one way, but defined in many different ways. After meeting with the family, justice to them is primarily defined by answers to what happened to Mr. Lewis, but also includes a full and open criminal investigation and the taking of statements under oath.”
Phillips is licensed in six states and has received national attention for his work:
- He represented the family of Jordan Davis, who was killed in 2012. The case received international attention, resulting in the conviction of Michael Dunn, a substantial civil settlement, election of Lucia McBath to the U.S. Congress and multiple documentaries, including the Emmy award winning ‘The Armor of Light,’ featuring Phillips’ work.
- He represents Omarosa Manigault Newman, defending her against retaliatory, unconstitutional claims brought by Donald Trump, his Campaign and Administration.
- He represents the family of Christopher Thomas. The rapper, Jamell Demons (Y.N.W. Melly), is facing two counts of capital murder and a civil suit being brought by Phillips for killing Thomas and his friend.
- He represented the families of 131 children who were abused by their pediatric dentist, Howard S. Schneider, dubbed “the worst dentist in America,” which resulted in closing his practice, revocation of his license, arrest and a record civil settlement.
- He represented the family of Kalil McCoy, who was murdered and dumped in the woods. The people involved lied and made appeals to the family to help find the killers. Ultimately, they were all arrested and Phillips obtained a record $495 million verdict against them.