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SeaWorld, Brancheau Family Don't Want Tapes Leaked

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on March 10, 2010 9:15 AM

In the wake of the brutal Orlando SeaWorld whale attack, the lawsuits have begun.  But this lawsuit is not a suit against SeaWorld. 

Rather, it's a suit to prevent the release of the video of the horrific incident, where veteran whale trainer, Dawn Brancheau, was dragged into the pool and killed by the very whale she trained.

Brancheau's family claims that the release of the information would worsen their grief and as a result, does not want the tapes of the SeaWorld whale attack to be made public.  Indeed, if the tapes were made public, they would be picked up by media outlets throughout the country, as the Orange County Sheriff's department reports that it has received several inquiries about the video.  

Such suits are not uncommon. In fact, the family of Dawn Brancheau has retained an attorney who represented Dale Earnhardt's widow in stopping the release of his autopsy photos. 

Similarly, the family of the Austin man who was recently killed when a plane crashed into an IRS building also sued to prevent the release of his autopsy details.

Such a suit would normally not be for any damages and rather, what lawyers call "equitable relief." A suit to prevent the release of a video would be in the form of an injunction or restraining order.  It is the remedy of choice when there exists to adequate remedy otherwise.   

As in the Austin plane crash case, the family seeks protection from hurtful information during their time of grief. The videos are in the custody of the Orange County Sheriff's office pending the investigation. Once the investigation is over, the videos could become public.

A representative for SeaWorld says that it is working with Brancheau's family to prevent the release of the video footage. 

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