Fallen Marine’s father takes a cool $2.9 mil from the Phelps clan; Update: Reuters story refers to “gay Marine”; Update: Reuters removes reference; Update: $8 million in punitive damages awarded

posted at 5:08 pm on October 31, 2007 by Allahpundit

The sweetest part? The punitive damages, which is where the real money is, are still to come.

Albert Snyder of York, Pa., the father of a Westminster Marine who was killed in Iraq, today won his case in a Baltimore federal court against members of Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church who protested at his son’s funeral last year.

The jury of five women and four men awarded Snyder $2.9 million in compensatory damages. The amount of punitive damages to be awarded has not yet been decided. The jury deliberated for about two hours yesterday and much of today…

Specifically, he charged that they violated his privacy, intentionally inflicted emotional harm and engaged in a conspiracy to carry out their activities. The jury decided in Snyder’s favor on every count.

This will open the floodgates for the other families who’ve been protested by Phelps to sue and put him in the poorhouse, if the verdict stands on appeal. That’s the real test here. The tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress that Snyder won on hinges on “outrageousness”; a standard example is prank-calling someone to tell them their spouse or child was killed in an accident. It’s up to the jury to decide if the offending behavior is so beyond the pale that the perpetrator should actually have to atone by paying the victim money. Given the parties involved here, a sympathetic verdict was a foregone conclusion. The question on appeal will be whether the First Amendment protects Phelps from the IIED claim, with the Falwell case, which also involved IIED, sure to be cited as precedent. In that case Larry Flynt’s editorial cartoon about Falwell was ruled to be protected speech, but only because Falwell was a “public figure” for First Amendment purposes, which the Snyder family likely is not. The Court’s reasoning was that people have to be free to criticize public figures in order to engage in public debate; otherwise they’d live in fear of being hit with an IIED suit every time they said something harsh. Whether they need the same freedom to criticize the war by holding “God Hates Fags” signs outside a soldier’s funeral is another matter. Phelps will point to this language in the opinion in his defense:

“Outrageousness” in the area of political and social discourse has an inherent subjectiveness about it which would allow a jury to impose liability on the basis of the jurors’ tastes or views, or perhaps on the basis of their dislike of a particular expression. An “outrageousness” standard thus runs afoul of our longstanding refusal to allow damages to be awarded because the speech in question may have an adverse emotional impact on the audience.

If you take that seriously, all IIED claims should be unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds. The Court evidently doesn’t believe that’s true, though, because it declined to rule that way in Falwell, limiting its decision instead to cases involving public figures. Phelps’s only chance is to ask them to extend that ruling and now declare all IIED claims flatly unconstitutional or to argue that the Snyder family are limited purpose public figures for purposes of the analysis, which would strengthen the First Amendment defense. With a conservative Supreme Court and public sentiment overwhelmingly in the plaintiff’s favor, they’ve got a tough haul.

Update: Does Reuters have any basis for believing Matthew Snyder was gay, or are they just very stupidly assuming that based on the signs carried by Phelps family members at the funeral? The screencap, in case it changes:

snyder2.jpg

I looked around in the Baltimore Sun archives but didn’t see anything to support that claim.

Update: That didn’t take long. How ill-informed must they be not to know that the “God Hates Fags” crap is SOP for Phelps?

Update: Like I said, the big money’s in the punitives.

The jury first awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages. It returned later in the afternoon with its decision to award $6 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy and $2 million for causing emotional distress.

Interesting that the lion’s share comes from the privacy claim, not the IIED claim. It’s my understanding that the Phelps people followed the law and kept their statutorily mandated distance from the funeral itself. I wonder if that’s going to affect these damages on appeal.


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And it doesn’t cover “hate speech”… if this is something we can actually define.

What crazy uncle Fred Phelps does is more than just speech, it is hateful vindictive harrassment.

Lawrence on October 31, 2007 at 7:37 PM

Which, I think, is also covered under Fighting Words. YMMV.

eanax on October 31, 2007 at 7:42 PM

Exactly right, if the speech causes harm it is not protected. That has been established over and over. And that was the basis for this suit.

Moreover, if the police came and locked them up for this, there might be a basis for infringment of rights. This is a civil suit, a completly different animal.

conservnut on October 31, 2007 at 7:39 PM

Yup pretty much been set in stone since the Burr – Hamilton duel.

doriangrey on October 31, 2007 at 7:44 PM

doriangrey on October 31, 2007 at 7:32 PM

Centerfire on October 31, 2007 at 7:34 PM

Quite right. Freedom of speech does not confer freedom from consequence. There are competing interests, true, and I am considering what they may be. I happen to conclude that in this instance they have not done anything worthy of such damages. IIED is such a subjective thing…yes there are ways of ‘proving’ it, but are they really reliable? How do you know that the Snyders aren’t being thin-skinned jingoists? (I don’t think they are btw) They’re surely mad as hell at these people, but what _injury_ are they claiming compensation for? I have a visceral understanding of the complaint, sure – I’m only human, but it doesn’t translate well into formal law.

As for jurisprudence, that’s all well and good, but 50 years ago it was _different_ people reaching conclusions. The SC may well ‘stick together’ and attach significant weight to such conclusions – as well they should – but it should never be considered _impossible_ to successfully challenge the reasoning behind such decisions. The law serves us, not t’other way around ;-)

Ochlan on October 31, 2007 at 7:47 PM

just as your right to swing your fist extends no further than the tip of my nose

This is interesting, and is something I am working on…what I call the ‘bubble’ model of rights…it is often expressed as “your rights end where mine begin” or something like that.

It’s simplistic, and in narrow examples works well enough, but often ends up with people squabbling over where the ‘bubbles’ boundaries really are. I am currently thinking about a ‘continuous influence’ model of rights…competing abstractions that determine legitimacy of action.

Ochlan on October 31, 2007 at 8:00 PM

Anyone want to take bets against that they will refuse to pay, then when they are trying to be served some kind of warrant something bad happens and they end up barricading themselves in a compound of some sort……

RW Wacko on October 31, 2007 at 5:29 PM

I hate frivolous lawsuits… but this is just great. baracade, bankrupt… whatever. Go away mad even… as long as these fringe nuts just go away.

BadBrad on October 31, 2007 at 8:02 PM

Eat it, Phelps! Every last bite!

CurtZHP on October 31, 2007 at 8:06 PM

Does anyone know – Is Ochlan from Kansas by any chance?

Buy Danish on October 31, 2007 at 6:09 PM

My money says he’s a U of Delaware student who just finished dorm indoctrination.

Kowboy on October 31, 2007 at 8:07 PM

My money says he’s a U of Delaware student who just finished dorm indoctrination.

lol wrong again…hand over your cash

Ochlan on October 31, 2007 at 8:12 PM

This is interesting, and is something I am working on…what I call the ‘bubble’ model of rights…it is often expressed as “your rights end where mine begin” or something like that.

It’s simplistic, and in narrow examples works well enough, but often ends up with people squabbling over where the ‘bubbles’ boundaries really are. I am currently thinking about a ‘continuous influence’ model of rights…competing abstractions that determine legitimacy of action.

Ochlan on October 31, 2007 at 8:00 PM

Too late, it’s already known as tort law.

doriangrey on October 31, 2007 at 8:29 PM

lol wrong again…hand over your cash

Ochlan on October 31, 2007 at 8:12 PM

Sue me for it. hehehe

Kowboy on October 31, 2007 at 8:38 PM

Awesome news! I hope everybody else this twit and his cult have harassed sues them too.

Benaiah on October 31, 2007 at 8:50 PM

Wonder what Al Gore must be thinking tonight.

Gore (quoted by the Nashville Tennessean in 1984 saying homosexuality is not “an acceptable alternative that society should affirm”)… reportedly sought the support of the Phelps family in his 1988 presidential campaign, and invited the Phelps’ to the Clinton-Gore inaugurations of January 1993 and January 1997.

RushBaby on October 31, 2007 at 9:16 PM

I’d just as soon they were dealt with this way.

John from WuzzaDem on October 31, 2007 at 10:42 PM

I’d just as soon they were dealt with this way.

John from WuzzaDem on October 31, 2007 at 10:42 PM

That and that attitude are exactly what have been financing these repugnant people since day one.

doriangrey on October 31, 2007 at 10:56 PM

When outrages are pretexts for taking money from others, occasions for outrage are never lacking.

Kralizec on October 31, 2007 at 11:19 PM

That and that attitude are exactly what have been financing these repugnant people since day one.

doriangrey on October 31, 2007 at 10:56 PM

What? Did you follow the link?

John from WuzzaDem on October 31, 2007 at 11:26 PM

Update: Does Reuters have any basis for believing Matthew Snyder was gay, or are they just very stupidly assuming that based on the signs carried by Phelps family members at the funeral? The screencap, in case it changes:

Ugh, these people are pathetic… even when they aren’t letting their liberalism take over their news pagers, they let their laziness fill them with lies.

RightWinged on October 31, 2007 at 11:40 PM

Let’s try that again:

I’d just as soon they were dealt with this way*.

*THE WORDS “THIS WAY” IN THE STATEMENT ABOVE CONTAIN A HYPERLINK.

John from WuzzaDem on October 31, 2007 at 11:40 PM

Update: That didn’t take long. How ill-informed must they be not to know that the “God Hates Fags” crap is SOP for Phelps?

What shoot-from-the-lip “journalism”.

Shows how ignorant al-Reuters has chosen to be on this issue. It’s not like this was the first time the Phelps cult did this at a funeral, or not like it hasn’t been reported that other veterans have formed a group to assist families in keeping these nutballs away.

Who has the taser?

91Veteran on October 31, 2007 at 11:41 PM

Forgot to add:

I wonder if al-Reuters has reported in any manner on this subject in the past?

Even if they had, there is no reason to assume the Marine was gay just because the cult used it as an issue.

91Veteran on October 31, 2007 at 11:43 PM

John from WuzzaDem on October 31, 2007 at 11:26 PM

Yes I saw the link. Throwing rocks at their van, breaking one of the windows out. Yea, that a real cool way to deal with people. NOT. Phelps bunch make their living off lawsuits. Physically assaulting them is not only morally and ethically wrong it’s also illegal and only serves to enrich them financially. Get a clue, hatred is not the answer. How the Snyder family dealt with them is exactly how they need to be dealt with.

doriangrey on October 31, 2007 at 11:49 PM

doriangrey on October 31, 2007 at 11:49 PM

Thanks, but I don’t need a clue, and neither do the people of Seaford, Delaware, who ran Phelps and his toadies off when they tried to hold one of their “protests” at the funeral of Marine Corporal Cory Palmer, who was killed fighting for his country in Iraq.

http://cbs3.com/topstories/Corporal.Cory.Palmer.2.300651.html

Tell the Palmer family how they “should have” dealt with the WBC scum.

For the record, I wasn’t serious about preferring mob rule over legal action, but to tell you the truth, it felt good to see those scumbags running scared for a change, and if this case is thrown out on appeal (and I’m afraid it might), but I’d be willing to bet that the WBC would be a little more selective about where they “protested” if this happened a few more times.

John from WuzzaDem on November 1, 2007 at 12:13 AM

OK, let’s try that last line again:

…and if this case is thrown out on appeal (and I’m afraid it might), these asswipes will pick up right where they left off, but I’d be willing to bet that the WBC would be a little more selective about where they “protested” if this happened a few more times.

John from WuzzaDem on November 1, 2007 at 12:26 AM

Where is the criticism of the trial lawyers? Isn’t this just another scheister plaintiff’s lawyer at work? Don’t we need tort reform to prevent these outrageous awards?

No.

I hope one day my fellow conservatives will understand that although the media reports the most outrageous cases and jury awards, most trial lawyers are good folks doing good work. I’m glad that justice was done in this case.

bigbeas on November 1, 2007 at 1:14 AM

Please tell me that no one here believes these inbred mongoloids have any part of $2.9 million? They drive to these funerals in a 1974 Ford Fairlane station wagon…

They do own a functioning law firm, albeit dyfunctional, called Phelps Chartered. The site is down but the link is –
http://www.phelpschartered.com/

Old Fred was disbarred long ago but Shirley and the other kids, I think a sister and some of the brothers, have the business.

They’re certifiably nuts, just the type you do not want to see go to law school and pass the bar. Their lawyering consists of tying up the courts with needless law suits involving their own family members, them suing anybody and everybody to make a buck, taking complete advantage of the system. It’s so sick.

AprilOrit on November 1, 2007 at 2:44 AM

Much as I would like to see the Phelps gang stopped, I hope this will get kicked out eventually. If this is not kicked out it creates the sort of precedent which will be abused to stifle speech.

davod on November 1, 2007 at 5:13 AM

Anyone want to take bets against that they will refuse to pay, then when they are trying to be served some kind of warrant something bad happens and they end up barricading themselves in a compound of some sort……

RW Wacko on October 31, 2007 at 5:29 PM

Now this would be a bunch I’d like to see get “the Reno Treatment.”

Texas Nick 77 on November 1, 2007 at 5:23 AM

I’m just wondering where “our resident lawyer,” Mr. Tommylotto, stands on all this. Not a single post from him on this thread. Oh, I see… no mention of Fred Thompson.

Oops. I said the magic words…

Texas Nick 77 on November 1, 2007 at 5:38 AM

“Don’t we need tort reform to prevent these outrageous awards?”

Why do you think this award is “outrageous?”

I will grant that this is extraordinary, and most such cases usually generate much smaller awards, when plaintiffs prevail. But the JURY (our peers) were sending a message to the Phelps, and those like them.

The JURY was saying that the behavior of the Phelps WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. And they made their point forcefully in a way that will ruin the asshole Phelps.

The JURY was saying that freedom of speech and freedom of religion does not extend to violating the rights of others. They are saying that the assholes crossed the line by demonstrating at the funerals of slain servicemen.

The JURY decided to punish Phelps so harshly, that they will likely have to fold their tents and disband. They’ll be like OJ. Whenever they get any money beyond the amounts protected by statute, it will be taken from them and given to the Snyders. And if the news articles are correct, that’ll also apply to “donations” to the “church.”

That is, of course, if the judgment amount stands. I would expect the see the Phelps’ appeal the amount of the judgment and it is possible that the judge will lower the amount, thought the verdict against the assholes will probably stand.

Having listened to their message of hate, I not only agree with the jury as to the amount, but I wish it were more. And if God does decide to strike down the Phelps, I won’t cry a single tear.

georgej on November 1, 2007 at 6:33 AM

All I know is that the Phelps clan is gonna have to invest in unmarked gravesites.

James on November 1, 2007 at 8:13 AM

It’s pretty satisfying to see the abominable Phelps clan get slapped with a multimillion dollar judgement against their despicable harrassment of grieving parents. This, and the lawsuits it will encourage, can have the best effect in shutting them down. I can only hope for a class action suit.

Still, I was kinda hoping for an ugly mob of villagers with torches and farm implements to storm the Westboro “church” some night.

Tantor on November 1, 2007 at 10:48 AM

James on November 1, 2007 at 8:13 AM

Upon reflection, it may have appeared that I was advocating an action against the lives of these subhumans…but I meant when it’s time to bury any one of them they had better do it anonymously or else expect many, many actions to be taken against the site.

James on November 1, 2007 at 10:53 AM

It’s simplistic, and in narrow examples works well enough, but often ends up with people squabbling over where the ‘bubbles’ boundaries really are. I am currently thinking about a ‘continuous influence’ model of rights…competing abstractions that determine legitimacy of action.

Ochlan on October 31, 2007 at 8:00 PM

I don’t see how an abstract determination of anything is going to change my circle of influence, which exactly the length of my arm with my hand held in the form of a fist.

If my bubble of influence conflicts with with someone else’s bubble, then it means we are standing too close to each other, and I think that this is a pretty simple thing to rectify.

Lawrence on November 1, 2007 at 11:24 AM

davod on November 1, 2007 at 5:13 AM

If we let this slide, then any kind of harassing speech becomes acceptable. Because what the Phelps clan is doing is not an issue of free speech, but of harassment.

The Phelps have their platforms for speech. They have their church pulpit for preaching their message. A church surrounded by a tall spiked iron fence with the American flag flown upside down. And they have every street corner in Topeka, usually across for some church on Sunday morning while parishioners are entering for worship.

But speaking out against the nation and the military at the funeral of a soldier killed in combat is not preaching one’s message, it is a personal attack on that person and that person’s loved ones.

Lawrence on November 1, 2007 at 11:33 AM

How about we sue Reuters too?

Longhorn Six on November 1, 2007 at 11:38 AM

I was wondering last night whether, if this decision is allowed to stand, this precedent will fling a door wide open for a flurry of religious persecution lawsuits…all claiming IIED.

There are plenty of hellfire & brimstone churches out there, all very vocal about condemning people to hell for their sinful ways…when will people start to challenge them in court, alleging ‘distress’ and seeking a payout?

It may yet turn out to be a Pandoras Box…

Ochlan on November 1, 2007 at 11:48 AM

For your veiwing pleasure –

Angry Left Wing Mob runs the Phelps Family out of Frederick Md

AprilOrit on November 1, 2007 at 11:49 AM

Good God, they are even carrying signs that read FDNY is burning in Hell, that is really disgusting.

AprilOrit on November 1, 2007 at 11:53 AM

Even better –

Westboro Baptist Church gets their ass kicked at a military funeral in Maryland.

Someone threw a bottle at their van window.

AprilOrit on November 1, 2007 at 12:01 PM

Well…the counter-protesters were quite a bag of dicks too…all a bit lame and pointless really.

What sickens me most is seeing the kids holding the God Hates Fags signs…it’s like seeing innocent kids being taught white supremacy stuff.

You have no idea how unclean I feel defending the Phelps clan.

Ochlan on November 1, 2007 at 12:01 PM

Someone threw a bottle at their van window.

Unlike the Phelps clan, the bottle-thrower has actually committed a crime.

Ochlan on November 1, 2007 at 12:02 PM

Lawrence on November 1, 2007 at 11:33 AM

Bingo.

The soldier wasn’t a “public figure”, the funeral wasn’t a “public event”; but Phelps was there, with an uninvited crowd and a loudspeaker calling the dead soldier a homosexual. At a minimum that’s slander, and invasion of privacy.

You do have the right to protest the military. Can I recommend protesting at the capital, or outside a military installation; or one of a hundred public events?

However if instead you believe that harassment of an individual who isn’t part of the “public figures” group is acceptable, I’m confused.

In that case, what exactly stops me from following you around with a loudspeaker calling you any and every name I can think of 24/7? I don’t know of anyone who I’d be willing to spend a few vacation days stalking, slandering and harassing endlessly; but I also thought it would be illegal somehow…

gekkobear on November 1, 2007 at 12:36 PM

It may yet turn out to be a Pandoras Box…

Ochlan on November 1, 2007 at 11:48 AM

Only as long as we continue to pass off this kind of harrassment as free speech.

I understand what you’re saying, Ochlan, but you do not understand the full measure of what you defend.

Thing about all the other fire and brimestone churches you mention, they don’t preach their message every Suday by standing across the street corner harrying other the members of other churches.

They used to stand on the street corner direcly in the path of parishioners getting verbal in their face. But the community had enough and Topeka has forced them to move a cross the street and to tone down the personal verbal assaults. And low and behold, it hasn’t impacted anyone’s free speech rights.

Except for their Lawyer backgrounds and deep pockets the Phelps cult is real close to getting run out of town and real close to losing their tax exempt status as a church. Fred is getting old and Topekans are pretty much just waiting for him to die. I may be wrong, but I really do not believe his cult will continue for very long without him.

Lawrence on November 1, 2007 at 12:39 PM

In that case, what exactly stops me from following you around with a loudspeaker calling you any and every name I can think of 24/7?

gekkobear on November 1, 2007 at 12:36 PM

Depends first on whether you come withing my self defense ‘bubble’ of influence. Depends secone on how long it takes me to get a restraining order.

Lawrence on November 1, 2007 at 12:42 PM

I really do not believe his cult will continue for very long without him

I can only hope you are right. They are despicable excuses for homo sapiens.

Ochlan on November 1, 2007 at 12:46 PM

I really do not believe his cult will continue for very long without him

Well his kids, like Shirley and some of the sons are pretty much out there on the forefront, I hope you are right also but I think they will continue if they can.

AprilOrit on November 1, 2007 at 1:12 PM

1. I agree with Enrique — what exactly did the suit allege? That some retarded, poor, radical homophobic people from Kansas went to his funeral and said mean things about the U.S.?

2. Please tell me that no one here believes these inbred mongoloids have any part of $2.9 million? They drive to these funerals in a 1974 Ford Fairlane station wagon…

Jaibones on October 31, 2007 at 5:52 PM

Haven’t read all the comments here and someone may have mentioned this, but Fred and family don’t protest here because they think America is gay and is being punished by God. That is just what they say to enrage folks. They’re real intention is to inflame passions so much that someone throws a rock at them or burns the old Fairlane so they can sue in court and get lots of money to live well for the rest of their lives. It is an act! A trap to get money from the US government for the enraged actions of some Marine buddy kicking their worthless asses. Our Men have been informed and comport themselves accordingly.

The fact that it has taken so long for someone to actually get upset enough to commit acts of violence against them is a testament to the forebearance and peaceful intentions of mainstream America. We’ve come an awful long way in our search for tolerance, ain’t we?

Now Phelps’ own tactics are being used against them. How is that bad for the average American? That average Joe can sue a miscreant like Phelps and be chastised for endangering our collective freedom of speech is ridiculous. Where is the Snyder’s right for redress? Where is their right to speak in all this? They chose to file suit. They won. It was deserved and I hope will hold up on appeal. Their rights of free speech were honored.

End of story.

Subsunk

Subsunk on November 1, 2007 at 2:07 PM

It may yet turn out to be a Pandoras Box…

Ochlan on November 1, 2007 at 11:48 AM

I doubt it, this issue is more of a personal slander/libel action and not one of repression of freedom of speech.

You have no idea how unclean I feel defending the Phelps clan.

Ochlan on November 1, 2007 at 12:01 PM

Trust me, yes I do…

Someone threw a bottle at their van window.

Unlike the Phelps clan, the bottle-thrower has actually committed a crime.

Ochlan on November 1, 2007 at 12:02 PM

As bad as the Phelps clan is, and they are pretty sickening, physical violence against them simply is not a justifiable response to their actions. As long as their rhetorical statements remain devoid of any specific individual they remain squarely in the domain of freedom of speech. The moment they attach specific individuals to their rhetoric they have crossed the line into slander or libel.

doriangrey on November 1, 2007 at 2:13 PM

Subsunk on November 1, 2007 at 2:07 PM

Exactly…

doriangrey on November 1, 2007 at 2:15 PM

AprilOrit on November 1, 2007 at 1:12 PM

True. It will have to be one of the sons, though, or a close male associate. But a lot depends on who ends up in control of his money. Fred’s power comes as much from his money as from charisma. The general impression is that his money will be split among several and his cause will splinter. Or it will go to one person who will probably squander or pilfer it. And once the money is gone, the cult will start to die off.

Lawrence on November 1, 2007 at 2:36 PM

The fact that it has taken so long for someone to actually get upset enough to commit acts of violence against them is a testament to the forebearance and peaceful intentions of mainstream America. We’ve come an awful long way in our search for tolerance, ain’t we?

Subsunk on November 1, 2007 at 2:07 PM

Indeed. Fred is like the crazy uncle that is more a danger to himself than anyone else. He’s been around a long time and is an old, rich, pimple-on-the-butt excentric. And has never presented a physical danger to anyone except maybe those who follow him.

But this in no way excuse him and his cult following from personal attacks against our deceased veterans. Let it be clearly understood, he is not just attacking individuals, he is attacking everything that these individuals stand for… which is all the rest of us.

Lawrence on November 1, 2007 at 2:43 PM

The moment they attach specific individuals to their rhetoric they have crossed the line into slander or libel

Whoa there. Spoken or written, I am free to express my opinion of you specifically…of your actions, choices etc. This is how I interpret the Phelps actions…hence my defense of them. The “free speech” angle comes as a consequence of setting such precedent.

It is only when I state – as fact – demonstrably untrue claims (about you specifically) do I step into the realms of slander or libel. You still have to demonstrate injury, of course, under tort law.

Not that I’d say anything bad about you dorian…other than “get a haircut” ;-)

Ochlan on November 1, 2007 at 2:48 PM

Please tell me that no one here believes these inbred mongoloids have any part of $2.9 million? They drive to these funerals in a 1974 Ford Fairlane station wagon…

Just because Fred is cheap, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have money.

Lawrence on November 1, 2007 at 6:27 PM

It is only when I state – as fact – demonstrably untrue claims (about you specifically) do I step into the realms of slander or libel. You still have to demonstrate injury, of course, under tort law.

Ochlan on November 1, 2007 at 2:48 PM

Spoken like a true lawyer.

{sigh}

Lawrence on November 1, 2007 at 6:30 PM

I really do not believe his cult will continue for very long without him

I can only hope you are right. They are despicable excuses for homo sapiens.

Ochlan on November 1, 2007 at 12:46 PM

Then why go to such lengths to defend them? I know I’m getting into this a bit late, I did read all the comments, I still don’t get why the Phelps clan shouldn’t be held responsible for their disgusting actions. Like Lawrence said above, ( thank you for that bit of info.)these people are professional scam artists. Yea, yea, freedom of speech, constitutional rights… bla bla bla. I can only say, Ochlan and others like you, I hope you never know what it’s like to be in the position that the parents, relatives and friends of that dead soldier were in. They have rights too, the right to grieve their loss without callous, money-grubbing lunatics screaming at the funeral should be top of list.

4shoes on November 1, 2007 at 11:01 PM

For support of the Snyders:

Write the editors of the York PA newspapers.

And go to:

http://www.matthewsnyder.org

Lawrence on November 2, 2007 at 9:15 AM

CJOnline – Fallen Marine’s dad wants Phelps property

http://www.cjonline.com/stories/110207/loc_214323778.shtml

For Topekans, perhaps the most indelible symbol of the anti-homosexual pickets who attend Westboro Baptist Church is the church itself. And that is exactly what Albert Snyder wants to seize.

Snyder, of York, Pa., had sued the church for damages after members demonstrated at the 2006 funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, 20, who was killed in Iraq.

On Wednesday, a federal court jury in Baltimore awarded Snyder $10.9 million in damages, saying the church and three of its leaders were liable for invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress as the result of the funeral picketing.

Lawrence on November 2, 2007 at 10:07 AM

I do not believe that the Phelps’ family will win their appeal. A disgusting bunch, one and all…

eanax on November 3, 2007 at 11:02 AM

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