Posts tagged "ChemRisk"

Cardno ChemRisk, LLC v. Foytlin, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-032-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-12082   CARDNO CHEMRISK, LLC  vs.  CHERRI FOYTLIN & another.[1]       Suffolk.     October 7, 2016. – February 14, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Botsford, Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, Lowy, & Budd, JJ.     “Anti-SLAPP” Statute.  Practice, Civil, Motion to dismiss.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on December 16, 2014.   A special motion to dismiss was heard by Edward P. Leibensperger, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     John H. Reichman, of New York (James E. Grumbach also present) for the defendants. Megan L. Meier, of Virginia (Samuel Perkins also present) for the plaintiff. Thomas R. Sutcliffe, Jeffrey J. Pyle, & Sarah R. Wunsch, for American Civil liberties Union of Massachusetts, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     LENK, J.  On April 20, 2010, an oil rig operated by British Petroleum (BP), known as Deepwater Horizon, suffered a catastrophic explosion causing approximately 4.9 million barrels of oil to flow into the Gulf of Mexico, some forty miles off the coast of Louisiana.  Three and one-half years after the oil spill, and during the ensuing multidistrict Federal litigation in New Orleans regarding BP’s liability for it, the defendants, both environmental activists, contributed an article appearing in the Huffington Post, an Internet Web site.  That article, also known as a “blog posting,” contained criticism of the plaintiff, Cardno ChemRisk, LLC (ChemRisk), a scientific consulting firm that BP had retained to assess the toxic effects of the oil spill on cleanup workers.  ChemRisk maintains that certain of these criticisms constitute actionable defamation. ChemRisk brought claims for defamation against both defendants, in Massachusetts and in New York.[2]  The defendants filed a special motion to dismiss the Massachusetts suit under G. L. c. 231, § 59H, the “anti-SLAPP” statute.  A Superior Court judge denied the motion, concluding that insofar as the Internet blog posting at issue did not concern or seek to advance the defendants’ own interests, but rather those of the cleanup workers, the defendants had not met their threshold burden of showing that the suit was based exclusively on the “exercise of [their] right of petition under the [C]onstitution,” as that phrase has been interpreted in our case law.  G. L. c. 231, § 59H.  We conclude, to the contrary, that the defendants were engaged in protected petitioning activity, which was the sole basis […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 14, 2017 at 4:28 pm

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