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Save Our Environment
Continued from page 21

(b) Exceptions.-A person shall not be immune
under this section if the allegation in the action or
any communication to the government is not relevant
or material to the enforcement or implementation
of an environmental law or regulation and: (1) the
allegation in the action or communication is knowingly
false, deliberately misleading or made with malicious
and reckless disregard for the truth or falsity; (2) the
allegation in the action or communication is made
for the sole purpose of interfering with existing or
proposed business relationships; or (3) the oral or written
communication to a government agency relating to
enforcement or implementation of an environmental law
or regulation is later determined to be a wrongful use of
process or an abuse of process.
27 Pa.S.C. § 8302(b).
A person wishing to invoke the immunity provided
by PELR may request a hearing to determine the
preliminary issue of immunity. 27 Pa.S.C. § 8303.
See also, Pennsbury Village Associates, LLP v. Aaron
McIntyre, et al., 11 A 3d. 906 (Pa. 2011) (The law in
Pennsylvania relating to the applicability of immunity

22 | New Matter

is subject to a two-part test: (1) do the conditions which
make immunity applicable apply, and (2) is there a legal
basis for not applying immunity?)
The scope of immunity provided by PELR seems far
less broad than the Noerr-Pennington Doctrine, since
under the Noerr-Pennington Doctrine, it does not seem
to matter what the motivations of the defendant are,
or whether any statements made are false (although
there seems to be a requirement that the request for
government action must not be objectively baseless).
What seems to matter is that the communication seeks
action favorable to the defendant. As Judge Sommer
wrote, that is what we call free speech.
CDP wants another crack at these claims and filed a
motion for reconsideration on September 22, 2017. In
the motion, CDP argues that Judge Sommer's decision
violates their due process rights (CDP did not have an
opportunity to brief the issues before the August 22, 2017
order was issued) and that Judge Sommer misapplied
the Noerr-Pennington Doctrine, by conflating the three
claims by CDP into a single matter of citizen petition
of government.



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