Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Judge rejects SF Pride’s attempt to have lawsuit struck

A judge Wednesday denied the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee’s attempt to have a lawsuit against it struck.

Freddy Atton, a gay San Francisco man who was shot at the 2015 celebration, is suing SF Pride because of his injuries. Festival organizers have said that Atton is trying to clamp down on their free speech, among other arguments.

In his order Wednesday, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Ulmer rejected that claim.

SF Pride “fails to show that plaintiff’s complaint implicates CCP 425.16,” Ulmer said, referring to state civil code that addresses free speech. Atton, the plaintiff, “alleges that defendant’s lack of security at its celebration caused his injuries from gun shots. Plaintiff is not basing liability on defendant’s constitutional free speech.”

Ulmer also denied Atton’s request for attorney’s fees.

In the weeks before this year’s parade and celebration June 25-26, Atton and his attorneys had sought to have the festival called off unless security measures including bag checks and metal detectors were implemented.

Pride organizers repeatedly rejected the idea, saying they wouldn’t be able to make such changes in such a short time span, among other claims. A judge sided with SF Pride and said the celebration could proceed.

But soon after Omar Mateen fatally shot 49 people and injured 53 others at Orlando, Florida’s gay Pulse nightclub June 12, SF Pride announced that it would add bag checks and metal detectors.

The security changes didn’t seem to cause problems for organizers or attendees, and no shootings or other major problems were reported at this year’s festival.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, August 4, 2016 @ 9:02 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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