The world’s leading digital rights organization is helping to secure a defense for the Beaver Countian from a frivolous defamation lawsuit filed against it by a group of local politicos.

Attorneys for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) reviewed the circumstances surrounding the case against BeaverCountian.com and the organization is now arranging for a defense by one of their cooperating law firms located in Pittsburgh.

Former “Bipartisan Committee For A Better Economy Borough” Treasurer Richard Lapinski (husband of former Economy Borough Councilwoman Michelle Lapinski), along with George E. Fiztgerald (who campaigned for Mayor of Economy Borough), and Mary Jo Sivy (who campaigned for Tax collector), filed a lawsuit earlier this month alleging defamation by the Beaver Countian and officials with the Beaver County Democratic Party and the Democratic Party Of Economy Borough.

This site has published a lengthy editorial about the lawsuit titled “A Slaphappy Lawsuit From A Merry Band Of Fools” that provided extensive background about the case.

The EFF was founded in 1990 to ensure that rights and freedoms are enhanced and protected as our use of technology grows. The international nonprofit organization champions causes of user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development.

The EFF is currently leading litigation against the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance program in conjunction with efforts by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). A staff member for the organization is now serving as the “digital bodyguard” for Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, helping to secure source material provided to the reporter by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

BeaverCountian.com will announce the law firm that will be representing it as local counsel in the near future.

It’s Nothing But A SLAPP In The Face

A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition. The typical SLAPP plaintiff does not normally expect to win the lawsuit. The plaintiff’s goals are accomplished if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism. A SLAPP may also intimidate others from participating in the debate. (via Wikipedia / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License)


  1. So I knew when I read those fools in Economy were suing JP it wasn’t gonna end well for them!  Good job JP this is gonna be like watching a train wreck in slow motion!

  2. So glad I moved out of Beaver county (and PA). It is a laughing stock of corruption, cronyism and governmental incompetence! Good luck to the Beaver Countian! Keep up the good work.

  3. Something about a counter suit comes to mind. Hem them up in a courtroom for a year or two, teach them a lesson. I’m not going to say good luck, your not going to need it.

  4. Don’t worry Jeff Davis, we were glad to see you go. You moved from Beaver County to the Youngstown OH area and we all know there’s no cronyism, corruption or incompetence there!

  5. NOW, take a deep look into what you are reading and believing. The EFF, while “notorious” in their efforts, will fight for anything to make a point. Their specialty as of late, for all you mothers and Fathers of teenagers, is defending the rights if individuals who post revenge pornography. Which means if consenting adults(18+) have sex, and it happens to be recorded, without consent from the pictured individual, it can be posted for the pornograpic pleasure of whoever downloads the video. TO date there are 9 states that have explicit laws against this. Pa isn’t one surprise, surprise.
    Here is were the first amendment is abused and it pisses me off as a father. Free SPEECH, RIGHT? Advocates like the EFF object to legislation banning things like revenge porn on the grounds of free speech. Look up SLAPP laws. The bull shit ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation say they worry that legislation, LEGISLATION, that could potentially protect our children, might infringe on first amendment rights. Well as a LIBRATARIAN, and father of two daughters I strongly disagree. The EFF has filed motions in favor of defendants, asking the judge to dismiss claims because the person posting the revenge porn hasn’t acted negligently because the act, itself, was consensual. WELL, BULLSHIT. The EFF has also bought key words on the Internet so it’s interesting trying to find information about them without ending up on their website. The info is out there.

    “We generally don’t think that finding more ways to put people in prison for speech is a good thing,” said Adi Kamdar, an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. However, defending children nude in the Internet is a good thing. AND THEY ARE JUST THAT, CHILDREN.

    As a father of two little girls, it is my responsibility to make sure this never happens to mine. Thanks to social media, camera phones, and I pods there will be children not solucky. It’s free speech right. I’m not going to engage in an argument with anyone because I’m for protecting OUR CHILDREN. Do the research yourself. It’s very interesting.

    • I’m for protecting children too, but it starts with teaching your children not to get naked in front a camera for their boyfriend/girlfriend.

    • Your comment seems far fetched, however we may not like or agree with the individuals or organizations that are entitled to civil liberties, but we live in a free country and we cannot pick and choose who and who does not deserve civil rights. I’m not one, that likes people that burn a United States Flag, and flag burning does in fact fall under 1st Amendment protection.

    • With all due respect, this is what results when simple people try to take on complex issues after doing little more than 5 minutes of Googling to educate themselves. I usually don’t go tit-for-tat in the comments, but I don’t want to leave people uneducated about some important issues that you’ve raised.

      A few points:

      1.  SLAPP legislation has nothing to do with revenge porn so I’m not sure why you stuck that in the middle of your diatribe. SLAPP legislation serves to curtail lawsuits “intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.”

      2.  “Revenge Porn” (involving adults 18+) isn’t the same as “Child Porn” (involving minors) which is already illegal with harsh sentences as it should be. I have no idea why you’re even mentioning children other than to illicit a guttural response from people.

      3.  The EFF has never said they think “Revenge Porn” should be lawful.  They’ve said that they have concerns about certain laws that were being passed or proposed in relation to it.  They also say that civil rather than criminal liability may be the best solution in many circumstances.  That “bull shit” organization Harvard University has said the same thing. 

      “The ACLU initially voiced concern that the law could be used to censor photos with political implications or containing evidence of a crime.”

      Let me give you an example.  Remember all of the controversy involving Congressman Anthony Weiner?  The media may never have been able to expose (sorry) that story if some versions of “Revenge Porn” laws had been in place, as publishing the photos may have run afoul of the statute.

      It is the responsibility of advocacy organizations to think of the implications of legislation being proposed by legislators; who at times are passing laws which are knee-jerk reactions to the outrage of the day.

      The unintended consequences of legislation which regulates speech can be a dangerous thing in a free society.

      4.  I have absolutely no idea what this means: “NOW, take a deep look into what you are reading and believing.”  

      The fact that a major civil rights organization is helping to secure a defense for this publication somehow makes our reporting unreliable?  

      I fail to see the logic in that.

      As always, thanks for being a reader of the Beaver Countian!

  6. Good to hear that a major organization dedicated to free expression online will be championing your cause. EFF is a great group, and I’m sure they’ll have the ham-handed SLAPP bounced out of court in short order. Keep us posted, and continue your diligence.

  7. “Civil rights” is a term that covers a broad range of subjects. For layperson, the best understanding is this: a civil right is a privilege or interest that has been established as a matter of law or custom and generally applies to most individuals as a matter of citizenship or residence in the United States as a country or in the state where you live. These people who hired a attorney to file a writ against the Economy Borough and Beaver County Democratic Committee Chairs are on a slippery slope. It is the “civil right” of anyone to file a complaint on campaign finance reports if they fill they have evidence that campaign finance laws were violated in the state of Pennsylvania. A journalist has the civil right to report that information. The fact that a complaint was filed on the Bipartisan Committee for a Better Economy Borough campaign finance reports escalated to the Attorney General is not the fault of the Democratic Committee Chairs nor John Paul of the Beaver Countian. It was the fault of the same people who filed this writ for a bogus lawsuit. The refused to cooperate with the director of elections and the board of elections.These same people were given repeated opportunities to show the Beaver County elections director additional documents she requested. Instead they chose to comply with the laws that everyone must follow according to Pennsylvania campaign finance laws.These people have crossed a line. They’d better hope not only counter lawsuits are filed by a federal one because they’ve infringed on civil rights of the Democratic Committee and John Paul of the Beaver Countian.

  8. I never mentioned a thing about child porn. I do, however, consider an 18 year old a child. Which may be hard for someone without kids to comprehend. And while us “SIMPLE” readers may not have the computer knowledge that you possess, my post was not a result of 5 minutes of Google research. My point is law enforcement is stumped on how to police revenge porn. Copyright infringement didn’t apply, and unless it is child porn, there is nothing they can do about it. People who commit these crimes can be sued in a civil court but its very expensive. Any attempt at legislation is challenged by the ACLU and the EFF.
    What you write on here, at times, may not be unreliable. But like the EFF, is not for the greater good. The ACLU and EFF will challenge anything that gives them National exposer. Anthony Weiner took those pictures of himself and sent them to an individual. That is a nonsense example that is used by every ACLU rep that is interviewed on the subject. And I’m shocked, however not surprised that you would consider a crime like revenge porn an outrage of the day. I know the thought of having to protect someone you love more than yourself eludes you, Try to understand. legislation against such a crime is not a knee jerk reaction. The fact that that victims of this crime are to embarrassed to come forward, the true scope of this problem is unknown. I’m not arguing the legalities if the case between this blog and the individuals. I’m putting this out there for people to do there own research.

  9. And I mentioned SLAPP laws because websites that distribute this crap hide behind this law in order to counter sue.

  10. SILENCE!  I SAID SILENCE!!!  Quit the pissing contest.  JP has to do what he has to do and I hope he wins!



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