Claiming the lawsuit is “replete with hyperbole,” and arguing the Kingston-based “Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition” lacks legal standing, the contractor accused by the coalition of labeling anti-drilling activists as potential terror threats filed paperwork today seeking to be dismissed from the suit.
The Coalition filed the lawsuit in federal court Sept. 27, naming state former Homeland Security Director James F. Powers. Jr. and the “Institute of Terrorism Research and Response,” a Philadelphia-based company previously contracted by Powers which had prepared an intelligence bulliten depicting the protesters of Marcells Shale gas drilling as potential terrist threats to the industry.
In a brief supporting a motion for dismissal filed today in Scranton, the Institute calls the suit “a transparent attempt to spread its message and obtain publicity for its cause,” and that the contract with the Institute and the state has already been cancelled by Gov. Ed Rendell in response to the controversy, making their presence in the case unnecessary.
The brief also argues the Coalition lacks legal standing in the case, and that the company and its officer are not “state actors simply because they are carrying out a state sponsored program and the contract is being compensated by the state,” nullifying part of the allegations in the suit.
And the company argues the Coalition’s request for “nominal damages” of $125,000 must be stricken because the state Supreme Court has ruled “nominal damages” must be $1.
Copyright: Times Leader