On Feb27.12 Judge McPhee of the Washington State Superior Court for Thurston County threw out the Israeli backed SLAPP suit against the board members of the Olympia Food Coop.
I reported on this disaster of a law suit last December [Israel Targets US Citizens — Part II] and predicted . . .
[I]f OFC folks win their SLAPP motion, they will be able to really get down and party with the $160,000 the DDT-5 will have to pay them.
My gut feeling is that they should get their dancing shoes out from under the bed.
This SLAPP suit has absolutely astounded me in it’s stupidity right from the beginning.
I previously referred to the plaintiffs, Kent Davis, Linda Davis, Susan Trinin, Jeffery Trinin, and Susan Mayer as the “DDT-5.” Their lawyer is Avi Lipman.
They have all made themselves public figures by filing the SLAPP suit against OFC, and I do not think we should let them hide behind “the plaintiffs,” as other bloggers have done. They are backed by the Israel-first organization, Stand With Us (SWU), and, according to the Electronic Intifada, by the Israeli government. All of this is laid out in my previous post.
What is so stupid about the suit technically is that some bagel-brain decided to sue the ENTIRE current board of the OFC, plus previous board members — 16 defendants in all.
The Washington state anti-SLAPP law says that each of these defendants “shall” now recover $10,000 as compensation from the plaintiffs. When “shall” appears in a statute, it means the judge has no discretion. That looks like AT LEAST $160,000 to the defendants. Hang on a sec’ — pull out calculator, tap, tap, tap, - - - that comes to a cost to each of the DDT-5 plaintiffs of $32,000. This does not include the amount they will have to pay for the defendants’ attorneys’ fees and legal costs, which are also required by the statute. Ouch, baby! Maybe that’s why it’s called a SLAPP suit.
But the stupid part is that the suit would have been just as effective in closing down the OFC BSD initiative if the suit had named only one or two current board members and not exposed the plaintiffs to 16-fold penalty fees.
But, noooooo. These uber-Zionists wanted to inflict as much pain as possible on as many of the OFC folks as possible. That’s precisely what a SLAPP suit is all about: inflicting financial pain on the defendants. Of course, the DDT-5 and their attorneys didn’t know when they filed their maleficent SLAPP suit that Bruce Johnson, who drafted Washington’s anti-SLAPP law, and the Center for Constitutional Rights were going to step in and level the playing field.
Good on Washington State for passing this anti-SLAPP statute.
Good on Judge McPhee for applying it.
Good on OFC defense attorney Bruce E.H. Johnson of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.
And a great job by the Center for Constitutional Rights. I’m sending them a check tonight. These are my rights they’re fighting for.
Maybe the next time Israeli Consul General Akiva Tor and Israel consider taking on US citizens in a US court over the 1st Amendment, they will take a deep breath and re-think the whole thing before pulling the SLAPP trigger.
When Oprah beat back a SLAPP suit filed by a bunch of Texas cowboys who were trying to penalize her for saying she’d never eat another hamburger, she summed it up: “Free speech rocks.”