For Immediate Release
April 24, 2018
True North Companies Sanctioned Under Anti-Slapp Law
Judge Grants Anti-Slapp Motion and Sanctions Investment Banker’s Company True North Companies for Violating the Law Known as the “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) Pursuant to A.R.S.§ 12-752”
Phoenix, Arizona— In a groundbreaking ruling, a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge has granted a motion called Anti-Slapp and has sanctioned the Investment Banker True North. Additionally, the lawsuit against Charlie Lai, the owner of Super L Ranch Market, the former anchor store at the Phoenix Chinese Cultural Center has been dismissed. In her ruling, the judge also ordered True North to pay attorneys fees and costs.
On September 12, 2017, Mr. Lai went to the Phoenix City Council to speak before them. In his public statements, he chronicled True North’s actions in dealing with him. He told the City Council not to trust them, and not to trust anything they say. True North tried to silence the grocer by suing him. The court ruled that this was a violation of his free speech rights to speak openly at the council meeting.
In her ruling, included below for your reference, the HONORABLE KERSTIN LEMAIRE, one by one points out why each element of Mr. Lai’s testimony before the City Council is protected speech. She found that True North brought the lawsuit “to deter the defendant from exercising his constitutional right to free speech.”
“I went to the City Council to warn them about True North, 668 North, and their owner David Tedesco,’ said Charlie Lai. ‘I’m very grateful that the court opted to protect my free speech rights,” he added.
Attorney Jack Wilenchik represented the supermarket. After receiving the ruling today, he said: “It’s very rare to have a judge issue sanctions. This is a groundbreaking ruling under Arizona’s Anti-Slapp Law.’ He added, ‘Justice has been done for Charlie Lai.”
(Video of City Council Statement by Charlie Lai)
Mr. Wilenchik and Mr. Laivare available for interview.
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