Thursday, April 28, 2011

Great Californian SLAPPed To Death?

Dunno, it's just a question we can't shake since hearing the news of Rich McKee's death and all the stress he endured in recent years as a punishment for his efforts to shed light on important issues. Condolences to Cal Aware and his family- one helluva legacy. RIP, never forget. You can read more here and here.
read this section carefully:
"Meanwhile Rich and CalAware, in our first joint litigation, sued a school board for censuring (and censoring, on cable TV) one of its members for stating his opinion about something done in closed session—one he hadn't attended. The suit was dismissed on an anti-SLAPP motion when the trial court concluded we were were attacking the school board majority's right to voice its own opinion. The dismissal was upheld in an unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeal, and as a consequence the court ordered us to pay the district's attorney fees. Since CalAware had no money, the fee payment came from a bond earlier purchased by Rich (anticipating recovery on appeal), and backfilling payments he made from his own funds, ultimately costing him more than $80,000. He had to invade his retirement savings and endure a lien put on his home before the ordeal was over. His experience led the California Legislature, in a bill by Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco, SB 786, to amend the anti-SLAPP law to provide that cases brought under the open government laws, even if SLAPPed out of court on the merits, will not result in an attorney fee debt to the government, unless they are not only without merit but frivolous."

It reminds us of these recent stories related to UC:

UC Davis Uses Anti-SLAPP Provisions To Kill Prof's Discrimination Lawsuit (2009)

Former UCD Police Officer SLAPPed For 20K in Fees in Civil Rights Suit (2010)

UCD Professor Ordered To Pay 30K for Violating University’s First Amendment Rights (2011)

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