An Arizona rancher got his sweet revenge in court last month. A Tucson, AZ, jury agreed with Jim Chilton, a fifth-generation rancher, that the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), a radical environmental group, made “false, unfair, libelous and defamatory statements” regarding Chilton's management of his Forest Service grazing allotment.
Chilton sued CBD after it disseminated a press release and posted photographs on its Web site. The photos showed barren patches of ground that the group said illustrated damage done by grazing. Chilton's lawyer used wide-angle photos taken at the same locations to show the surroundings were “worthy of a postcard, with oaks and mesquites dotting lush, rolling hills.”
The jury awarded Chilton $100,000 in actual damages and $500,000 in punitive damages. Chilton says he plans to donate some of the money to the Arizona Cattle Growers Association's legal fund to help fight for “truth and responsibility for cattle grazing issues.”