In May, the Los Angeles Superior Court threw out a lawsuit brought by Pico Rivera cow slaughterhouse Manning Beef against activists who hold vigils outside of its slaughter facility. The Court found that the slaughterhouse's case was a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP)--an action usually filed by a wealthy person or corporation seeking to silence (usually poor) critics by putting them through the costs of mounting a legal defense. California's Anti-SLAPP statute allows for early dismissal of such lawsuits and imposes monetary consequences on the plaintiff to discourage such suits from being filed in the first place and to encourage attorneys to represent people who are sued for exercising their First Amendment rights.
Now the Court has ordered Manning Beef to pay my office, along with the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Ryan Gordon of Advancing Law for Animals, $94,500 in attorneys' fees in defending the activists against Manning Beef's SLAPP suit.
Hopefully such awards will discourage future would-be plaintiffs from suing their critics for exercising their First Amendment rights.