Noisy Steel Company Intimidates Quiet Neighbor

November 25, 2008

Ms. Donahue and her neighbors complained to the City's Building Department, the City Manager, the City Council, and the Police Department from the onset of the problem. Following the ticketing of Kendor for violation of Fraser's noise ordinance, Ms. Donahue was served with a lawsuit filed by Kendor and its owner, Dale Eltringham, who does not live in Fraser.

"Obviously, there is an attempt to shut me up, but if I step back and allow them to win, I'll have to pay $25,000 or more in damages and possibly Kendor's attorney fees, too.  More than that, a lovely neighborhood of fine, hard working people will be effectively gagged for all time," said Ms. Donahue.

SLAPP or "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation," is the name given to lawsuits brought to chill people from exercising their freedom of speech on.matters of public concern. According to the ACLU, Ms. Donahue's conduct is protected activity under the First Amendment's guarantee to free speech and to petition the government.

"This suit was brought by a well-financed neighborhood bully to intimidate a neighbor brave enough to stand up for her rights," said Michael J. Steinberg, ACLU of Michigan Legal Director.

ACLU Cooperating attorney, Daniel D. Quick said in the brief, "Ms. Donahue has every right - constitutionally, legally, and morally under considerations of good public policy - to protest what she feels is a public nuisance, and a duty to inform governmental officials of a problem in her neighborhood."