California Independent Petroleum Association's response to ERI briefing about SLAPPs & judicial harassment
- NGOs sued the City claiming it had a “pattern and practice” of approving oil-extraction operations with inadequate environmental review.
- CIPA was concerned the City would settle at industry’s disadvantage, so CIPA intervened.
- CIPA was granted intervenor status and the court directed the City and the NGOs to discuss any settlement with all parties, including CIPA.
- The City/NGOs ignored that court directive and entered into a secret settlement, part of which was an entirely new permitting process including changes to CEQA, for oil and gas producers. The NGOs dismissed their suit against the City.
- The City denied there was a secret settlement, and denied that the settlement was in any way related to the new permitting process for oil and gas producers. The City said it was just serendipity that they went into closed session, emerged with a new permitting process for producers, and the NGOs dropped their case the next day. It was later revealed this was not the truth.
- CIPA filed a cross-complaint against the City/NGOs for ignoring the court order and violating our due process rights through the improper imposition of new oil and gas permitting procedures through a secret settlement.
- City/NGOs filed an anti-SLAPP motion.
- ... Our issue was not with the NGOs, it was with the government of the City of Los Angeles, the second largest city in the nation with a multi-billion annual budget. Governments at all levels are increasingly trying to use anti-SLAPP motions to deny individuals and businesses their day in court to protect their constitutional rights, as happened in CIPA’s case. This should concern every individual and industry in the state. Rather than allow a case to proceed on the merits, governments want to deem all lawsuits against them as “retaliatory” so they do not have to defend their actions in court.”