SLAPP, Crackle Pop — Help, They’re Suing Us!

Congratulations on being sued for your activism. You should be gratified, but instead are probably freaked out.

Millions of activists and public officials struggle for the public good for decades without being sued for their work. That’s because the power brokers they are ticking off can handle them with the usual routine tactics. If you are getting sued, it’s probably because your opponents know that you are doing something extraordinary–truly threatening their plans, instead of being predictable or predictably conventional.
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SLAPPs Article from NIMBY (1994)

(The following is from my 1994 book, Not In My Back Yard: The Handbook (Silvercat Publications). It’s dated but still accurate. The references are no longer current.)

Watch Out for SLAPPs

SLAPP, a term coined in 1988, refers to a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. A Wall St. Journal article, referencing consumer advocate Ralph Nader, provides a succinct summary of what SLAPPs are all about.

“Corporations and developers have filed hundreds of civil suits against individuals or community groups in the past decade, Mr. Nader said. Usually, the plaintiffs allege libel, defamation, or interference with business in an effort to stop protesters from voicing criticism.
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SLAPPs In Depth

SLAPPs: Effects, Defenses, Preventions

This paper on SLAPPs is written for non-lawyers by a non-lawyer. It is an attempt to familiarize the interested layperson with the nature of SLAPPs, defenses against them, and ways to prevent them. Special attention is given to provisions that may be effective in state legislation designed to protect the rights of citizens who participate in a public debate.
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