Sunshine activist sued in Georgia

Doug Abramson of Friends of Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia is being sued for $273,000 by Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Inc.–the non-profit organization that manages the public park of that name.

Here’s a copy of the legal complaint.

This is very disturbing. The non-profit botanical garden is suing Abramson, the Friends of Piedmont Park, and their attorneys–all because Abramson filed a lawsuit last year seeking copies of documents from the organization. The organization denied that request, Abramson sued, and ultimately a judge ruled against his request, although it upheld a rather similar request from him, as we detailed back in September 2007.

The contention of the current lawsuit of the Atlanta Botanical Garden is that the open records lawsuit was frivolous and in bad faith.

Friends of Piedmont Park and Mr. Abramson file their response in court tomorrow.

One part of their response will note that this type of lawsuit will have a chilling effect on first amendment rights and the willingness of citizens to participate in public debates and decisions.

I’ll be keeping a close eye on this. I’m just a layperson, but it hardly seems frivolous to me to file a lawsuit, as Mr. Abramson did, seeking to open the records of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens on the theory that although the group is nominally private, it is sufficiently entangled with public resources and assets to count as public in some regards, including access to some of its records.

This whole area of the law is quite open.

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One response to “Sunshine activist sued in Georgia

  1. Pingback: “Participate in democracy at your peril” « Open Records

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