Big debate in legal and activist circles about SLAPPs — Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. These are essentially frivolous lawsuits launched by big business trying to squash local opposition to a project, for example, a mining firm launching a $5 million suit for defamation when they’ve been criticized for a project, even if the criticism is fair comment. However, facing the legal costs of fighting such a suit is daunting enough for some people to back down. Twenty two states and Quebec have legislation against SLAPP’s. This article looks at both sides of the issue, the other sides companies having to spend big bucks on frivolous charges from environmental groups determined to block a project at all costs.
Vancouver Sun, April 22 2010