I write here to promote issues that are important to me, for self-expression, because the community of readers and bloggers and commenters is a joy, and because I learn from that community every day. I certainly don’t name clients and talk about their cases in an identifiable way here.
Today, with a client’s permission, I’m making an exception. I’m doing so to tell you about the successful resolution of a First Amendment pro bono case. I’m doing so because the case is all about free speech, bogus legal threats, and SLAPP suits, some of Popehat’s core topics. Sure, it’s no Marc Stephens drama, but it’s in our wheelhouse.
The pro bono client is Michael Hawkins of For the Sake of Science, and the adversary is Dr. Christopher Maloney, a licensed naturopath in Maine.You can read Michael Hawkins’ account of the case here. This is my account.
The complaint centers around the things Mr. Hawkins has written about Dr. Maloney on the internet, as well as a pamphlet Mr. Hawkins handed out. Much of it reveals statements that are, on their face, protected by the First Amendment. Much of the rest of it relies on factual assertions that were easily disprovable by reference to posts still available on the internet.
Dr. and Ms. Maloney’s demand for injunctive relief, to me, perfectly represents how unprincipled, contemptible, un-American, and freakishly censorious their entire threat scheme was.
Tip: Boing Boing
This story is incredible. It details another example of litigious scare tactics aimed at bloggers who call people out for their actions. And, it details how it plays out. Heaps of praise and thanks go out to courageous bloggers and the lawyers who help them stand up to bullies. Become educated on SLAPP suits. Start by reading the post at the link above.