Skip to main content

Penelope Canan and George W. Pring's Research on Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP)

 Collection
Identifier: M204
The Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) Collection documents the SLAPP involvement of the College of Law and Department of Sociology at the University of Denver. Included are materials describing the nature of a SLAPP lawsuit, research materials on SLAPP lawsuits throughout the United States, and research on possible future subjects of lawsuits.

Dates

  • 1980-1998

Creator

Language of Materials

Material is primarily in English.

Extent

55.75 Linear Feet (54 record boxes and 1 flat box)

Scope and Contents

The SLAPP collection at the University of Denver includes are materials describing the nature of a SLAPP lawsuit, research materials on SLAPP lawsuits throughout the United States, and research on possible future subjects of lawsuits.

Biographical / Historical

A Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) was originally defined as a lawsuit involving communications made to influence a governmental action or outcome on a substantive issue of some public interest or social significance, which resulted in a civil complaint or counterclaim filed against nongovernment individuals or organizations. Wikipedia continues that definition to say that "This form of litigation is frequently filed by organizations or individuals to intimidate and silence critics or opponents by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense so that they abandon their criticism or opposition." Wikipedia also credits University of Denver professors Penelope Canan and George W. Pring with coining the acronym in the 1980s. Canan and Pring continue to be in the forefront of SLAPP research.

Many of the early cases involved environmental groups who were sued by corporations when their outspoken concerns were thought to interfere with the business projects of the corporation. Suits have also been filed against communities and individuals who speak out and petition against developers' plans. There are even cases filed against individuals who have spoken out againt trade policies.

Professors Canan and Pring were early researchers into this phenomenon on retaliatory litigation. Their collection of material related to these types of lawsuits forms the core of this collection. In addition to written publications by the two, they have hosted seminars and public forums on the subject.

Arrangement

The collection is partially arranged.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Penelope Canan, 1995 and George W. Pring, 2001.

Accruals

Further accruals may occur.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

Contact:
2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428