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Citing nearly 200-year-old case law and some Shakespeare, a Superior Court judge in Georgia dismissed a developer’s suit against 39 “unhappy” homeowners. Judge Clarence F. Seeliger held that South DeKalb homeowners who erected yard signs declaring their dissatisfaction with the developer, Chapel Hill Inc., were simply expressing their opinions. Attorney Gary J. LeShaw, representing the homeowners, accused Chapel Hill of suing to intimidate his clients and to keep them from exercising their right to free speech. The suit, LeShaw argued to Seeliger, was akin to a SLAPP suit — strategic litigation against public participation. However, Seelinger noted, the homeowners’ actions didn’t fit the classic SLAPP mold because they didn’t complain to the government. “We all have opinions which we express regularly,” Seeliger wrote. “Some opinions go to the core of our beings and bring a vigorous defense. As graphically put by Shakespeare when addressing a monarchical dispute: ‘If I my lord for my opinion bleed, opinion shall be surgeon to my hurt and keep me on the side where I still am.’ “

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