Last week, noted environmental activist Maggie Hurchalla joined us and explained how she was SLAPPED with a frivolous lawsuit by a mining corporation. The lawsuit had no actual merit, but was allowed to commence. The judge limited what the jury could consider as relevant facts by forbidding any testimony relating to 1st Amendment rights. Now, most people consider the 1st amendment in terms of free speech or religious rights, but forget another aspect--namely the right to "petition government for redress of grievances." Maggie was denied that right by the judge's order, which is common among what has been termed as SLAPP suits. SLAPP suits are civil lawsuits, with usually no merit, that are filed by corporate interests to silence any criticism or public participation. In fact, the acronomy SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. These civil lawsuits exist solely to silence the public. Usually, the coporation wins by default as the average person can't meet the expenses of a long, protracted fight in the courts. All the corporate attorneys have to do in most cases--is wait out the clock.
SLAPP suits are particularly notorious in environmental justice cases. They are a key instrument in maintaining the present carte blanche polluting industries have historically enjoyed. The ties to the subsequent environmental racism are also quite evident.
Come join us as we explore this clear abuse of the legal system.