First Amendment news: Victories, activities, auctions and blogs!!!

FAP represented Katherine Lopez, an elected member of Barrio Logan Community Planning Group, an organization created by the City of San Diego to offer community input in all decisions of the San Diego Planning Department. Ms. Lopez was sued for defamation after sending an email urging members of her community to testify before the community planning group if they had any concerns about the way the developer of a proposed residential complex treated his existing tenants. In her email she related some of the concerns that had already been reported to her, including alleged threats to undocumented tenants. Ms. Lopez’s conduct in encouraging others to participate in the community planning group process was classic petitioning conduct protected by both the First Amendment and California Civil Code 47. FAP obtained a voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit after informing plaintiff’s counsel that an anti-SLAPP motion would be immediately forthcoming.

FAP released its new publication, An Environmental Advocate’s Guide to Avoiding Publication Liability. The guide, written in response to a disturbing trend of environmental advocacy organizations being sued for reports on their websites and in newsletters, provides an overview of defamation and privacy law and a set of best practices for avoiding liability. The guide may be downloaded from the FAP website. Printed copies may be ordered directly from FAP.

And we’ve been busy planning FAP’s first ever charity auction. Sixteen of our this country’s most acclaimed authors have banded together to raise money for FAP by auctioning the naming rights to a character or place in their next works. Participants include FAP Advisory Board member Michael Chabon, Stephen King, John Grisham, Nora Roberts, Amy Tan and Lemony Snicket’s Daniel Handler. The auction will take place over several weeks in August. Check out for more information.

And be sure to check out First, FAP’s new Free Speech blog on the FAP website for current commentary on pressing First Amendment issues.

First Amendment Project needs your support so that we can continue to offer free legal and educational services to activist, journalists and artists who rights to freedom of speech and the press, to petition the government, and of information. Please consider a donation today.

There are several ways to support FAP:

  • Make an online donation right now by clicking here.
  • Set up a recurring monthly donation. Even a small donation each month goes along way to helping us continue our programs.
  • Auction an item on Ebay for FAP’s benefit. Because FAP is a registered charity with Ebay, you can designate FAP as the beneficiary of the proceeds of your auction.