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SPRINGFIELD, (OR)--U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio today announced that he and his campaign have prevailed in Josephine County Circuit Court in the $1 million+ lawsuit filed against him last fall by his opponent, Art Robinson. The Court dismissed all of Robinson’s claims under Oregon’s special procedure which lets a judge quickly dismiss meritless lawsuits that seek to attack protected and truthful expression.

Robinson filed a lawsuit demanding more than $1 million from DeFazio, personally, just three weeks before the 2012 General Election. Robinson’s lawsuit alleged that political advertisements, which included accurate (even verbatim) quotes of his own statements (including "Social Security should be ended through attrition,” and “Oregon State University is a liberal socialist stronghold") had put Robinson in a "false light." The ads he complained about were billboards along Oregon roads and a cartoon posted on the internet. Robinson sued DeFazio for "economic damages exceeding $1,000,000, and noneconomic damages in an amount to be proven at trial.

“The voters didn’t buy Robinson’s many stunts, and neither did the court,” DeFazio said. “For months leading up to the November election, Robinson peddled over 158,000 copies of his book Common Sense in 2012 in a blatant attempt to whitewash his ultra-radical views and seem more palatable to voters. When we publicized his actual stated, long-held positions on important issues, he filed his $1 million lawsuit against me, personally, and got quite a bit of news coverage. It was clear then, and confirmed by the court, his lawsuit had no merit. It was simply another ploy by Robinson to distract voters from the policy issues that really mattered just before the election.”

DeFazio’s attorneys on November 7, 2012, filed an anti-SLAPP motion to have the entire case dismissed on several grounds. One ground is that a candidate cannot be forced to pay $1 million (or any other sum) to the opposing candidate merely for truthfully publicizing the stated views of the opposing candidate. "SLAPP" stands for "strategic lawsuits against public participation." It is Oregon's special procedure which lets a judge quickly dismiss meritless lawsuits that attack others for having made truthful statements on matters of public concern. There are somewhat similar laws in about half of all states.

The judge’s opinion and other documents related to the lawsuit can be found at: Lawsuit Documents

Posted on May 1, 2013 in Press Releases.

As Independent as Oregon.

Peter DeFazio's common-sense proposals aim to create good-paying jobs, expand access to affordable health care and develop options outside of the for-profit marketplace, restore economic and educational opportunities, hold government accountable and tip the scales of inequality back in favor of hard-working Oregonians.

Meet Peter