ATTORNEYS TARGET INDEPENDENT PRESS
GRANTS PASS, OR - The US~Oregon Observer, a 13 year old newspaper which focuses on corruption in government, the judicial system, and in business practices has recently been targeted by attorneys who have filed suits against it for articles the US~Oregon Observer has published.
The first suit, filed by attorney Claud Ingram, of Oregon, contends that a press has no right to reprint public records or documents. In response, the Observer’s Attorney, Foster Glass from Bend, Oregon recently filed a summary judgment motion in Federal District Court in Eugene, Oregon.
On April 2, 2004, Las Vegas attorney Gregory Denue sent notice of suit to the Observer, which is seeking injunctive relief for clients based in Nevada. Mr. Denue claims a press can not quote a source without the publisher being liable for the statement. The US~Oregon Observer states that it will not settle this claim and plans to seek a judgment in court.
The articles printed by the US~Oregon Observer are unrelated, but both are hard-hitting investigative pieces that target corruption.
"These suits are an obvious attempt to get us to stop printing the truth." stated Edward Snook, head investigator for the US~Oregon Observer. "But what really gets me is that, if established, the legal precedent could seriously effect the 1st Amendment freedoms," said Snook.
The US~Oregon Observer plans to fight "tooth-and-nail" to keep the 1st Amendment protected and spokespeople for the paper say that it has been targeted in the past by similar cases, all of which it has defeated in the courts. Snook contends, "This, however, shows a significant increase in suits that are targeting publications and the 1st Amendment ... especially smaller publications where the case law can be cited in larger cases."
In a response to a question about what the 1st Amendment means to him and the US~Oregon Observer, Edward Snook said, "It is our responsibility to keep the public informed and to report on any corruption within our government system ... We will continue to report anything that may cause harm to the public or individual citizens by officials, lawyers, judges and anyone else who gets involved in corruption or seeks to silence our voice. 50 to 100 years ago newspapers across the nation published exactly as the Observer does today, however our paper is probably the last of a dying breed.”
Claud Ingram could not be reached for comment and Gregory Denue’s office refused to answer any questions over the telephone.
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"These suits are an obvious attempt to get us to stop printing the truth." stated Edward Snook, head investigator for the US~Oregon Observer. "But what really gets me is that, if established, the legal precedent could seriously effect the 1st Amendment freedoms,"