SLAPP suits, a.k.a. Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, date back to the earliest years of our country, long before the term existed. Although the right to speak your mind and fight for what you believe in is one of our nation’s oldest and dearest principles, those with vast resources have often tried to silence those who disagree with them.

The ACLU of Ohio recently defeated a SLAPP suit filed by Murray Energy Corporation against Mike Stark, a journalist and The Huffington Post contributor, attempting to chill his critics’ expressions of First Amendment rights. On May 12, 2014 Judge Frost upheld our motion to dismiss and dismissed the case.

Learn more about SLAPP suits and how to defend against them at our 2014 biennial conference, Resist. Reclaim. Restore Your Rights! by attending the workshop, Getting Sued for Speaking Out: Representing Activists Sued for Speech. This workshop will feature lawyers and activists who fight back against SLAPP suits. Our speakers, Jeffrey Nye and Jim Ciocia, will provide a background on SLAPP suits and highlight what activists can do to keep from being silenced.

Can’t make it to the conference? Check out our online toolkit for individuals who may be subject of a SLAPP suit, and this recent article in the Columbia Journalism Review written by ACLU of Ohio board member Jonathan Peters.