Unintended Consequences of the SLAPP Suit

Last week the perpetrators of Lake Restoration Solutions filed a SLAPP suit against my son Ben for his advocacy against their plan to dredge Utah Lake and to build islands eventually inhabited by up to 500,000 people. Should the development take place, the developers would reap untold riches through their avaricious privatization of parts of our lake.

The “substance” of their claims against Ben follow, revealing that they don’t care about the science he and others have put forward regarding Utah Lake but simply want to punish his “public participation”… as in a classic Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation

There are, fortunately, unintended consequences to filing such a suit. Interesting to me at the moment is that they draw attention to Ben’s blog and to a letter he and more than 100 scientists signed about the devastation the proposed development would have on the ecosystem.

Read the blog post “Seven Problems” and the thoughtful letter and contrast them with the petty claims of the lawsuit, laid out as follows:

These false and Defamatory Statements include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Statements Abbott made in a November 28, 2021 blog post Abbott

authored titled “Seven Problems with the Utah Lake islands proposal,”

published at www.benabbo.blogspot.com and shared at least via Abbott’s

Facebook account, that: “the project has no scientists on its team”; “no

researchers are willing” to work for Lake Restoration; and “no one in the

research or management communities thinks [the Project] is a good idea.”

• Statements Abbott made in his November 28, 2021 blog post that “[t]he

project has shady foreign funding,” and that Lake Restoration’s funding

“comes from Dubai.”

• A December 14, 2021 statement Abbott made at a Provo City Council

work meeting that Lake Restoration has “financing from out of the

country” and has received “international funding.”

• A statement Abbott made at the December 14, 2021 Provo City Council

meeting that Lake Restoration “went public on the SEC last year and only

managed to raise $200,000.”

• A statement Abbott made in a letter dated December 29, 2021, which

Abbott co-signed, shared via Abbott’s personal Twitter account, and sent

to various media outlets, that Lake Restoration “has no Ph.D. scientists on

their team.”

• A statement Abbott made in the December 29, 2021 letter that “Project

failure during design or permitting would leave the state [of Utah] with

loan guarantees.”

• A statement Abbott made in a January 5, 2022 Utah County Commission

Public Meeting that Lake Restoration “submitted a proposal to [the Utah

Division of Forestry, Fire, & State Lands] that would privatize the lakebed

and cover about 1/5 of the lake in private islands.”

• A statement Abbott made on his personal Facebook account in response to

a Facebook post about the Project that he “met repeatedly with the


About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at http://works.bepress.com/scott_abbott/
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