On August 30th, Eli, Becks, Junior and I were served documents informing us that Alpha was suing. They were demanding, we learned, an injunction that would invoke stiff penalties if we were caught on Marfork property in the future, as well as compensatory and punitive damages–an unspecified amount of money–for the “irreparable damages” that we had caused them economically by interfering with their mining on the Beetree Surface Mine and “depriving Marfork of the exclusive use and possession of the property.”
None of the four of us has the money to spend in court that Alpha does, nor do we have the money to pay Alpha “damages”–but that’s exactly why Alpha is suing us; they want to harass and intimidate us and all others who might be thinking of doing what we did. We recognize that this lawsuit is a SLAPP suit, Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation, Alpha’s way of using its political and economic power to make sure that no one will stand up to them again.
But we are not going to roll over and let Alpha get what they want. Three lawyers, Lawrence Hildes, Terry Lodge, and Carter Lloyd have stepped up to help us fight Alpha’s corporate lawyers with brilliant legal strategy. Last October, our lawyers removed our case to Federal Court, where we hope it will be treated more justly than in the industry-appeasing Raleigh County Circuit Court. (more…)