Howdy to all the many law firms that are visiting my blog. A special howdy to Kelly, Hart and Hallman of Fort Worth and Cantey And Hanger Llp of Dallas because I know how much you love representing those oil and gas polluters.
Hey, are you guys going to S.L.A.P.P. me?
Big time polluters like the ones drilling in the Barnett Shale and the industries that made Texas’ water the 4th worst in the whole state like to take their big time lawyers and all that big money they make and bully people like me with a S.L.A.P.P. suit (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation).
This is from Center For Health, Environment and Justice:
SLAPPs are brought against community leaders to muzzle their complaints and take away their rights to speak out against corporate plans that endanger their lives. SLAPPs are usually filed on the basis of defamation, business interference, or conspiracy. However, these allegations are really just intimidation tactics to silence citizens. Most SLAPPs are thrown out of court because the First Amendment protects citizens’ rights to free speech and public participation.
These are just a few examples of multimillion dollar corporations’ attempts to intimidate and financially ruin hard-working Americans trying to protect their families and lives, and expose the dirty practices of polluting companies. Engaging in activities such as circulating a petition, speaking at meetings, contacting or criticizing public officials, volunteering and supporting public interest campaigns should not be grounds for litigation. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution clearly protects “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Luckily, there are increasingly more tools to help fight this attempt by corporations to stifle democracy. At least ten states have passed laws to help citizens “slapp” back. Anti-SLAPP laws in these states require those filing such suits to prove malice and a “reckless disregard for the truth” by the defendants. If a judge rules that intimidation was a factor in a company’s suit, they can be forced to pay damages and the defendants’ legal costs. Hopefully, these types of laws will continue to be passed and anti-SLAPP sentiments will spread throughout our legal system effectively to end these frivolous and bullying corporate tactics.
If you or your organization is SLAPPed, the most important thing you can do is not to be scared or intimidated. SLAPPs rarely stand up in a court of law. Organizations exist which will provide legal assistance to defendants in SLAPP cases. Keep in mind that the First Amendment protects your rights to free speech and that no corporate polluter can take that away from you. Use your voice to speak out against environmental injustices. Our democracy and our lives depend on it.
Center For Health, Environment and Justice
P.O. Box 6806 Falls Church, VA 22040
Texas Monthly wrote about how Phyllis Glazer was SLAPPED.
Phyllis Glazer who founded Mothers Organized to Stop Environmental Sins (M.O.S.E.S.) was SLAPPed for fighting against the injection well operated by American Ecology Corporation (AEC) in Winona, Texas. AEC’s injection well is responsible for making all those wasted babies in Winona. When they got through SLAPPing Phyllis they RICOed Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) her charging, “among other things, racketeering, misrepresentation, defamation, business interference and abuse of the legal process for filing a citizens’ suit.”
Maybe you can get my pet nanny goat.
Or my weenie dog! Now that would be bad! She’s pretty rotten though so you might want to think that one through first.
But other than that I don’t have much. I’m one of those “ain’t got nothin’ to lose” kind of gals.
“Either I go home, or I say, ‘You think you can intimidate me? Screw you. Choose your weapon.’”~Eliot Spitzer
Here’s what I don’t get guys: Why not just use some of the millions you pay lawyers who smooth things over when you pollute and instead just use the money to clean up after yourselves? Or heck, you could even take some of those billions and billions of dollars you make and do something really good– invest in some wind energy.