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Amicus Briefs

Candide Group fighting defamation suit from notorious private prison corporation CoreCivic

CLDC attorneys Sandra Freeman and Lauren Regan authored an amicus brief in the legal bullying SLAPP case filed by CoreCivic against Candide Group and one of its founding partners Morgan Simon claiming as much as $60M in damages. Candide is a Registered Investment Advisor that directs capital away from an extractive global economy and towards investments dedicated to social justice and sustainability. In March of 2020 the private prison corporation CoreCivic sued the Candide Group, and Morgan Simon as an individual, for “defamation” after Ms. Simon’s opinions and (true, independently-verified) statements about CoreCivic’s detention practices were published in two articles.

Lauren Regan, Civil Liberties Defense Center Executive Director, PtP task force member, and brief co-author said: “The public interest value of state anti-SLAPP laws cannot be overstated. Until federal legislation is passed to stop malicious corporations from using SLAPPs to punish their adversaries for daring to speak the truth about their actions, these laws are the best line of defense for protecting our Constitutional rights to free speech and assembly from corporate assault. We urge the court to promptly reject this appeal and affirm the validity of California law.”

Rev. Taylor Morally Compelled to Act to Protect the Climate: Amicus Brief in Support of Washington State Minister

“The necessity defense has a central role to play in reinvigorating our struggling democracy in that it provides an opportunity for the community-at-large to evaluate whether an action taken for the greater good does in fact maximize social benefit. Moreover, the reasonableness issue is traditionally an element evaluated by juries rather than prosecutors and individual judges,” Regan explained.

“Protesters who engage in civil disobedience are making a value judgment on behalf of their community: that avoiding a particular harm contributes more to the greater good than adherence to a particular law. The role of a jury in a necessity case is to ratify or reject that calculation. The Court of Appeals’ decision usurps this important role of the jury and should not be adopted by this Court,” the groups wrote in the brief.

Maggie Hurchalla SLAPPed by Mining Company: Amicus Brief in Support of Florida Community Advocate

“The right to petition the government is a foundational principle of free speech; when citizens ask the government to solve a problem, such speech should, and must, be immune from private liability. Maggie’s case is a horrible example of why this immunity is so crucial, particularly when one is speaking out against a wealthy corporation,” said Lauren Regan, the Director and lead attorney for the CLDC, which also coordinates the legal team for the Protect the Protest task force made up of over 30 organizations from around the country. “For that right to mean anything, people must be free from fear of bad-faith corporate attempts to seek tort liability on the basis of speech that should be protected. If the precedent of the Florida court is allowed to stand, it will substantially deter individuals from speaking out on politically fraught issues,” said CLDC Staff Attorney Rebecca Chapman.

Detroit Will Breathe

In the face of the deplorable physical violence being perpetuated by the City of Detroit and the police force, such a legal tactic is as worrisome as it is offensive. After having failed to silence DWB through systemic and systematic violence, the City of Detroit is now attempting to weaponize the courts to silence them. As DWB put it in their motion to dismiss the counterclaim: “deprived by Order of this Court of their ability to silence Plaintiffs and others through the use of brute force and mass arrests, Defendants seek to chill Plaintiffs’ speech through a frivolous Counterclaim.”

Whereas corporations have long used frivolous conspiracy claims to attempt to silence dissent, this is the first time that a conspiracy claim has been used as a defense and a harassment tactic by a city and why it was important for CLDC and the Protect the Protest Task Force to file an amicus brief in support of DWB and against this abusive act of state repression.