DEFEND THE FIRST AMENDMENT
I'm ok. The First Amendment isn't.
The court rulings in the LakePoint case change the meaning of the first amendment to the US Constitution.
The Founding Fathers felt that the right to "petition government for a redress of grievances" was the very basis of American democracy.
We have the right to talk back to our government and we believe that controversy is best solved by open discussion instead of government dictates.
The ruling of Florida's 4th District Court of Appeals suggests that if you make a statement that government officials disagree with, that it is clear and convincing evidence that you lied with malevolent intent to harm. It doesn't matter if you believe what you say and qualified experts agree with your opinion.
I'm prepared to go all the way to the US Supreme Court if necessary and I am determined not to die before we win. George Lindemann Jr. may want to be known as the billionaire that killed the First Amendment and protected corporations from public criticism. I want my grandchildren to remember me for fighting like Hell to save it.
** Update as of 8/16/19
No orders have been entered by the court on either the motion for rehearing or the request to file an amicus brief.
No further filings are permitted (we can't reply to Lake Point's response, even though it contains inaccurate statements of law and fact).
** Update as of 7/20/19
The motion to appeal the 4th District Court of Appeal decision argues that the appellate panel's ruling is contrary to prior decisions issued in the Fourth District, which have always upheld the constitutional rights of citizens to communicate with government officials about matters of public interest. There has never been a ruling from the 4th DCA that denied a citizen the right to petition government for redress of grievances, that is, to complain to government about public issues. The motion to appeal asks for a rehearing by the full court or for certification of questions of great public import to the Florida Supreme Court.
** Update as of 3/12/19:
What happened in the Appeal Hearing?
To watch the oral arguments in the Lake Point appeal, click below:
THE LAKE POINT SLAPP SUIT AGAINST MAGGY HURCHALLA
Lake Point is a rockpit project in western Martin County controlled by George Lindemann Jr and his family.
Maggy Hurchalla sent emails to Martin County commissioners criticizing the project.
Lake Point sued the South Florida Water Management District, Martin County and Maggy Hurchalla. The suit claimed that Hurchalla's communications to commissioners were "tortious interference with a business relationship".
The Lake Point SLAPP suit was originally filed in February, 2013.
In February, 2018, a Martin County jury found Maggy Hurchalla guilty of tortious interference and assessed damages of $4.3 million dollars.
Based on the circuit judge's jury instructions, the case will set a new standard for a citizen's right to complain to government officials
Maggy Hurchalla's appeal was filed with the 4th District Court of Appeals on Aug 24, 2018.
Four amicus briefs have been filed in behalf of Hurchalla. The four briefs were joined by the following organizations and individuals:
Amicus 1 - Attorney Paul Crochet on behalf of First Amendment Foundation, League of Women Voters of Martin County, Florida Press Association, Florida Society of News Editors, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Florida, Fane Lozeman, and the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information
Amicus 2 - Attorney Jack Cox on behalf of the Guardians of Martin County
Amicus 3 - Attorney Richard Grosso on behalf of Professors Canan and Pring
Amicus 4 - Attorney Richard Grosso on behalf of Bullsugar, Florida Wildlife Federation, Friends of the Everglades Foundation
An answering brief from Lake Point is expected by Oct 19, 2018.
For more details and the history of the case, see www.slappmaggy.com