Colorado Court of Appeals Rules for Environmental Activist in Defamation Suit

A Paonia environmental activist who helped persuade state lawmakers to pass an anti-SLAPP law during this year’s legislative session won a Colorado Court of Appeals victory Thursday against the oil and gas company that sued him for libel.

The appellate court affirmed a Delta District Court judge’s dismissal of the defamation suit against Pete Kolbenschlag on the grounds that his online comments about SG Interests (SGI) were “substantially true.” The judge last November called the Texas-based company’s legal claim “baseless,” “frivolous” and “a form of retaliation” when he awarded attorney fees to Kolbenschlag.

The Court of Appeals also decided that Kolbenschlag is due attorney fees and remanded the case to the district court to determine the amount. In an unpublished decision (meaning the ruling does not have precedential value), the Court wrote: “Because the overwhelming record refutes SGI’s libel claims, we conclude there is no reasonable basis for it.” (Read more here…)