Anti-fracking group adds claims to surveillance suit

Anti-fracking group adds claims to surveillance suit by Saranac Hale Spencer, April 30, 2012, The Legal Intelligencer
Opponents of hydraulic fracturing in Luzerne County can add defamation and conspiracy claims to their suit against the private surveillance company the government allegedly hired to watch them, a federal judge has ruled. The Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition filed suit in 2010 claiming the state’s former director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency’s Office of Homeland Security and the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response violated the First and 14th amendments when they watched the group. … But this month, U.S. District Judge William W. Caldwell of the Middle District of Pennsylvania granted the group’s request to add state law claims for defamation and conspiracy. “These claims, like the claims in the complaint, involve allegations that [Michael] Perelman and [the Institute for Terrorism Research and Response] published false statements to a third party. Both the complaint and the proposed amendments arise out of the same conduct,” Judge Caldwell said, holding that the claims are not time-barred. … Mr. Perelman is the president of the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, which bills itself as “an American and Israeli nonprofit corporation created to help organizations succeed and prosper in a world threatened by terrorism,” according to its website.

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