Gravel & Shea’s First Amendment practice group secured another victory on August 12, 2019 when the Windham Unit of Vermont’s Superior Court dismissed a libel action brought against The Brattleboro Reformer and one of its reporters. The suit grew out of reporting about the efforts of Kimberly Crosson to acquire an interest in a derelict building in Bellows Falls, Vermont that was formerly operated as The Hetty Green Motel. In dismissing the action, the Court also accepted Gravel & Shea’s argument that the suit was subject to Vermont’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) statute, which protects publishers from lawsuits that are intended to burden them with legal costs as a tactic to discourage them from commenting on matters of public interest. Under Vermont’s anti-SLAPP suit, the Brattleboro Reformer and its reporter are entitled to recover their legal fees from the Plaintiff. Bob Hemley handled the case for Gravel & Shea. A link to the decision is here.
August 13, 2019