The American Humane Association's former director of production has sued the organization and HBO, alleging she was fired for urging her employer to report the alleged abuse of horses on the Santa Anita Park set of the Dustin Hoffman series "Luck."
Barbara Casey filed the wrongful termination suit Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court. She is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
"AHA bowed to political and financial pressure and refused to report the production defendants' conduct to the authorities," the suit states. "AHA instructed (Casey) not to report such conduct. AHA engaged in efforts to conceal and cover up the production defendants' criminal activities."
Representative of the AHA and HBO did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment. HBO announced an abrupt end to the drama in March after news that several horses had died during production.
According to the suit, horses for the series were often drugged and many sick, underweight animals were routinely used.
"The production defendants intentionally misidentified horses so that the humane officers and/or animal safety representatives could not track their medical histories," the suit states.
A horse named Outlaw Yodeler was killed April 30, 2010; another, Marc's Shaddow, died March 29, 2011; and a third, Hometrader, was killed in the summer of 2011, the suit states.
"AHA told its representatives not to document (Hometrader's) death because he was killed during a summer hiatus from filming and therefore did not count," the suit states.
A fourth horse died in March just before the series was cancelled, according to the suit.
Casey worked for the AHA for 13 years and was fired in January, the suit states.
AHA's film and television unit is funded through entertainment industry grants and the organization's traditional end-of-film credit is, "No Animals Were Harmed," the suit states.