The University of Oregon’s Public Interest Environmental Law Conference is under way, though this year the annual confab is going virtual. Among other events, the Civil Liberties Defense Center’s Executive Director Lauren Regan (pictured) and other environmental lawyers will discuss Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) lawsuits. These are lawsuits used by corporate lawyers on behalf of extractive industries, according to CLDC, and the event will cover how SLAPP lawsuits are used to target climate activists, immobilize public interest attorneys and avoid accountability. For example, in a legal fight between the city of Weed and Roseburg Forest Products over water rights, the timber company sued nine citizens who were raising awareness about the case. CLDC called the lawsuit against the citizens a SLAPP and are now working with the residents to sue the law firm that named the residents in the case, using California’s SLAPPback law. At the event, Regan and other lawyers will offer tools to combat SLAPPs.
The SLAPP event is 3-5 pm Friday, March 5; a virtual social hour follows from 5-6 pm, with a musical performance by Casey Neill, a frequent performer at PIELC known for the song “Dancing on the Ruins of Multinational Corporations.” Visit CLDC.org for more information on how to register. FREE.