Tue December 10, 2013
"SLAPPED!" on Wednesday's Access Utah
“SLAPPED!” is a new novel based of the true story of a strategic lawsuit against public participation (S.L.A.P.P.) in Utah. Two headstrong conservative Mormon housewives, bent on preserving open space near Utah's Jordan River for their children and coming generations, speak out publicly against a multimillion-dollar commercial project that they believe would encroach on the river and destroy wildlife habitat.
They are promptly sued by the developers for $1.7 million. When these women choose to stand their ground and fight, the developers do everything in their power to use them as "whipping moms" so that no citizen or city will dare oppose their developments in the future. On these bones of a classic American story (based on actual events), a cast of fascinating characters fleshes out. A bipolar lone-wolf environmental activist forms an alliance with the women and becomes the story's x-factor. A diverse team of lawyers, including a civil rights attorney, supply the women with legal assistance. The developers' network of family members, business associates, political cronies, judges, and church leaders reaches deep into small-town Salt Lake County. Here, they inevitably cross paths with the housewives and their allies. Neighborhood vandalism, vicious gossip, and dirty tricks ensue. The two beleaguered housewives and their ragtag grassroots supporters hunker down to resist a lawsuit intended to shut them up and break them with legal bills. An important environmental fight morphs into an even more significant battle for free speech.