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E-M:/ SLAPPS



For those concerned with this important topic I suggest the following text.   When I was a planning commission member and expert witness for my town in a state planning hearing, a developer threatened a SLAPP against me.  An informal legal consult suggested that if the developer actually brought the suit, I might end up owning the land proposed for devleopment as judges at that point (10 years ago in Vermont) often fined the plantiff for bringing a suit to intimidate.  Of course the case law may well have changed since then but the book is a good starting point.  I don't think Penelope, a sociologist, has written further on this, but George Pring may have.

SLAPPS: Getting Sued for Speaking Out

by George W. Pring, Penelope Canan

From the Publisher

In a democracy that for over 200 years has prided itself on public participation and citizen involvement in government, thousands have been and will be the targets of multi-million-dollar lawsuits. They will be sued for such "all-American" activities as circulating a petition, writing a letter to the editor, testifying at a public hearing, reporting violations of the law, filing an official complaint, lobbying for legislation, or otherwise communicating their views. Such cases, named "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation," with their apropos acronym, SLAPPs, are a shocking abuse of one of our most basic political rights -- the Right to Petition. So extensive and grievous is the phenomenon that Justice Nicholas Colabella remarked, "Short of a gun to the head, a greater threat to First Amendment _expression_ can scarcely be imagined."
George W. Pring and Penelope Canan explore the full range of SLAPP stories in this first study of SLAPSS -- retaliatory lawsuits by real estate developers; teachers; police; politicians; opponents of civil rights; consumers' rights; women's rights; and many others. This comprehensive book examines what happens to the targets of SLAPPs and what is happening to public participation in American politics. Addressing the ultimate dilemma -- what can be done to turn the tables and fight back -- Pring and Canan offer concrete, well-supported, balanced solutions for preventing, managing, and curing SLAPPs at all levels of government.
About the Authors:
George W. Pring is professor of law at the University of Denver.
Penelope Canan is associate professor of sociology at the University of Denver. They are the co-directors of the Political Litigation Project at the University of Denver.
 
 
Professor of Sociology and Crop and Soil Sciences
Director of the Environmental Science and Policy Program
environment.msu.edu



 
 
-----Original Message-----
From: HAMILTREEF@aol.com
To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Sent: Fri, 1 Sep 2006 11:46 AM
Subject: E-M:/ Suits aimed at activists have a chilling effect

Suits aimed at activists have a chilling effect
 
In the protest world, they're called "SLAPP" suits. And as acronyms go, SLAPP is pretty descriptive — "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation."
SLAPP suits are a strategy used primarily by corporations or developers to intimidate individuals to prevent them from participating in public protests. Or, more bluntly, to shut them up.
What makes the suits unique — and effective — is that most are filed against individuals, not groups or local governments that may have the wherewithal to mount a legal defense.
http://www.record-eagle.com/2006/aug/29edit.htm

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