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Fri Jul 5, 2019, 02:26 AM

Appeals court dismisses Colorado lawsuit affecting free speech rights filed by energy firm against

Appeals court dismisses Colorado lawsuit affecting free speech rights filed by energy firm against activist


A state appeals court has dismissed a libel suit filed by a Texas energy firm against a Colorado environmental activist, finding that the lawsuit sought to stifle the activist’s freedom of speech.

The ruling in favor of Delta County activist Pete Kolbenschlag came in a case that helped lead to the enactment of a new Colorado law to protect citizens and news outlets from lawsuits that seek to curb their First Amendment rights.

Colorado is one of nearly 30 states that have adopted measures to curb what are called strategic lawsuits against public participation. Kolbenschlag and other citizens testified during the 2019 legislative session about how they’d been sued for libel or slander simply for exercising their First Amendment rights.

The law was signed by Gov. Jared Polis on June 3 and takes effect Monday. It allows a resident to seek an immediate stay of such a lawsuit. A higher court can order immediate dismissal of the lawsuit, and plaintiffs can be held liable for court costs and attorneys’ fees.

Read more: https://coloradosun.com/2019/07/01/pete-kolbenschlag-lawsuitsg-interests/

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