Monday, May 19, 2003

SLAPP suit over Wal-mart location is at issue in Bristol, TN city election

As reported here, issue no. 1 in tomorrow's city council election in Bristol, Tennessee is the council's reaction to a citizen lawsuit seeking to prevent the location of Wal-Mart on Volunteer Parkway near Bristol Motor Speedway. The lawsuit enraged some council members, who threatened to come after the plaintiffs for $2 million damages if they proceeded with their appeal, which threat had the desired effect of coaxing the plaintiffs to drop the appeal.

Tomorrow is the first chance to measure at the polls whether the advocates of punishing citizens will be punished by the citizens. II suspect that they will not - most people want the Wal-Mart, and the citizen suit probably was a loser, so there was "no harm done" that most people can see.

A "SLAPP" is "a (1) civil complaint or counterclaim; (2) filed against individuals or organizations; (3) arising from their communications to government or speech on an issue of public interest or concern. SLAPPs are often brought by corporations, real estate developers, government officials and others against individuals and community groups who oppose them on issues of public concern," according to this site.

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