RI Teachers Union Opposing Mom Nicole Solas anti-SLAPP Suit: We didn’t WANT To Sue Her, We Had To Do It
NEA-RI says it was forced to sue Solas and her husband in order to sue the school district to prevent release of records. But NEA-RI had no standing to inject itself into the public records process under clear Rhode Island law, so that defense is a distraction.
A long, long time ago
I can still remember
When the union sued Nicole Solas
And now she wants to make them pay.
Lyrics taken very loosely from American Pie by Don McLean.
Perhaps you remember too.
- Teachers Union Sues Mom Nicole Solas To Prevent School District From Releasing Critical Race Teaching Records
- RI Teachers Union Seeks Emergency Injunction Preventing Release of CRT Records To Mom Nicole Solas (Update)
- Unions May Have Major Legal Problem In Lawsuit Against RI Mom Nicole Solas Over Public Records Of Critical Race Teaching
- Teachers Unions Exposed To Anti-SLAPP Punitive Claim For Suing Mom Nicole Solas Over Critical Race Records
- Court Filing: RI Mother Nicole Solas Demands “Compensatory and Punitive Damages” Against Teachers Unions Under Anti-SLAPP Statute
- Teachers Union and School District Appear To Be Colluding Against RI Mom Nicole Solas In Lawsuit
- UPDATE: Teachers Union v. RI Mom Nicole Solas – Motion for TRO Withdrawn By Union During Court Hearing
- LOL NEA Teachers Union Declares Victory Over Mom Nicole Solas Despite Court Humiliation
Short version, after dropping its motion for emergency injunctive relief to prevent release of public records requested by Solas and her husband (because the union was going to lose), NEA-RI still faced Solas’ Motion for Summary Judgment on her suit under the Rhode Island anti-SLAPP statute:
Defendants Nicole Solas and Adam Hartman (“Parents”) hereby move for summary judgment and submit the following memorandum of law in support 0f their Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiffs National Education Association Rhode Island (“NEARI”) and National Education Association South Kingstown (“NEASK”) (collectively “Plaintiffs”) lack standing t0 bring this action and Parents are immune from suit under Rhode Island’s anti-SLAPP statute, R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-33-1, et seq (“anti-
SLAPP statute”). There are no genuine issues of material fact as to Plaintiffs’ liability for Violating the anti-SLAPP statute and Parents are entitled to dismissal of Plaintiffs’ lawsuit and judgment as a matter 0f law.
This lawsuit is an unprecedented attempt to enjoin the statutory public records process and stop citizens from seeking public information in good faith about the operations 0f their government. This extraordinary case is brought by a party without standing, disregards the entire statutory scheme under the Access to Public Records Act (“APRA”), R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-1, et seq., and is an affront to Parents’ rights to open and transparent government under the APRA, the anti-SLAPP statute, and the United States and Rhode Island Constitutions.
Judgment should be entered in favor of Parents on the grounds that Plaintiffs lack standing and that Parents are immune from suit under R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-33-2. In addition, the Court should award Parents costs and reasonable attorney fees for having to defend this action. This matter should be left open only for limited discovery t0 ascertain whether damages should be awarded under § 9-33-2(d) against Plaintiffs for bringing a frivolous action for the purpose 0f harassing Parents and inhibiting their statutory and constitutional rights, as set out in Defendants’ concurrently filed Motion for Limited Discovery.
NEA has now filed its Objection and Memorandum in Opposition:
The Plaintiffs, National Education Association Rhode Island (“NEAR!”) and National Education Association – South Kingstown (“NEASK”) ( collectively referred to as “NEA” or the “Union”) hereby submit the following memorandum of law in support of their Objection to Motion for Summary Judgment submitted by Defendants Nicole Solas and Adam Hartman (hereinafter “Requestors”). 1 Because the Union has standing to pursue this action against the South Kingstown School Committee (“School Department”) and the Requestors as they were parties required to be included under the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act (“UDJA”), G.L. 1956 § 9-30-1 et seq .. the Motion must be denied. The Requestors’ motion pursuant to the Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation (“SLAPP”) statute, G.L. 1956 § 9-33-1 et seq. also fails for a number of reasons including the fact that the defense is inapplicable when the Union was required to join Requestors pursuant to the UDJA and has no claim against Requestors for liability. Thus, whether the anti-SLAPP defense is available is a moot issue because there is no claim for liability to which conditional immunity could even apply. Finally, even if the anti-SLAPP defense were procedurally available, there are material disputes of fact that would preclude resolution of the applicability of that defense as a matter of law at this stage.
You can read the whole thing. The short version is we were forced to sue Solas and her husband in order to sue the school district.
Umm, but there was no basis for NEA-RI to sue the school district either. That’s the point. NEA-RI had no standing to inject itself into the public records process under clear Rhode Island Supreme Court precedent. Additionally, there was no factual basis for the union claim that the school district might produce personal materials about teachers that were not covered by the public records law.
So the NEA-RI, which had a documented hostility to Solas, ran into court without a legal or factual basis. I don’t predict outcomes — all that needs to happen for Solas to lose the motion is for the court to find disputed issues of material fact, in which case the lawsuit would still move forward, there just wouldn’t be a quick resolution.
But this case seems to fit the anti-SLAPP statutory terms and purpose.
Argument on the motion is December 1, 2021.DONATE
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