Supreme Court won’t hear Florida environmentalist’s appeal

STUART, Fla. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by a Florida environmentalist that sought to set aside a $4 million judgment over her criticism of a rock mining project near the Everglades.

The court without comment Monday decided not to consider the free speech case involving Maggy Hurchalla, 79, who is the sister of former Attorney General Janet Reno.

Hurchalla was appealing a 2018 jury verdict that imposed the multi-million penalty. The company, Lake Point Restoration, argued that Hurchalla’s comments about the rock project amounted to a violation of a contract it had with Martin County.

In an email Monday to The Associated Press, Hurchalla said she was disappointed but hoped the court would find another case to protect free speech rights in such debates with corporations and government entities.

“I would have thought that these times, above all others, would affirm the importance of the First Amendment right to peacefully tell the government what to do,” Hurchalla said. “Without it, there is no “We the people”. If you can’t sort out what’s right by public discussion, the alternatives are dictatorship or violence.”