PRESS RELEASE: Animal Activists and Seattle National Lawyers Guild Defend Free Speech Against Skanska SLAPP Injunction

Multi-billion dollar corporation sues grassroots activist in attempt to silence the No New Animal Lab campaign; activist fights back with anti-SLAPP motion.  

Seattle, WA —  Thursday, March 26, an organizer with the No New Animal Lab campaign has a court hearing to fight a petition for a permanent injunction filed on behalf of executives of Skanska USA. The construction firm Skanska has been the subject of the national protest campaign due to their contract to build the University of Washington’s Animal Research and Care Facility (ARCF), a proposed underground animal laboratory.

Amanda Schemkes was served four temporary restraining orders (TROs) and petitions for permanent injunctions from Skanska executives due to her involvement with the No New Animal Lab campaign. Injunctions and TROs are types of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), intended to suppress First Amendment activity. The President of the Seattle Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), Jennifer Kaplan, represents Ms. Schemkes and has filed a motion to strike in accordance with Washington state’s resolute anti-SLAPP laws.

The No New Animal Lab campaign is pressuring both the University of Washington and Skanska to terminate plans to build the ARCF, which will expand the number of primates and other animals that the UW can use and kill in research by thousands. Activists in over a dozen U.S. cities are participating in the campaign with protests against Skanska’s offices and executives.signs