gavel court justice colorado

GRAND JUNCTION — A court has rejected another attempt by a Texas energy firm to punish an environmental activist for exercising his free speech rights.

The Daily Sentinel reports that a three-judge panel of the Colorado Court of Appeals on Thursday denied a petition by SGI Interests to have the full court consider complaint against Paonia resident Pete Kolbenschlag.

SGI sued Kolbenschlag for libel in 2017 after he posted comments about its activities on public lands on the website of the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.

In June, the appeals panel upheld a lower court's dismissal of the complaint as frivolous.

On Thursday, in addition to denying SGI's bid to have the full court rehear the case, it published its previously unpublished its June ruling to add to legal precedent.

The case helped lead to a new Colorado law to protect citizens from so-called "SLAPP" lawsuits (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) intended to stifle their First Amendment rights.

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