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Court Nixes Suit Against South Boston Expo Center

(CN) - The Bayside Exposition Center is no longer facing a lawsuit by a former venue user after the Massachusetts Supreme Court affirmed dismissal under the anti-SLAPP statute.

The North American Expositions Co. filed the suit, claiming Bayside interfered with its negotiations to host its home, boat and RV shows at the larger Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, which opened in 2004. North American had previously run its shows at the Bayside Exposition Center in South Boston.

North American said Bayside leader Joseph Corcoran objected to North American's move to the larger center. He stated that Bayside's existence was already threatened by the loss of revenue to the BCEC.

The trial court dismissed North American's lawsuit to stop Bayside from interfering with North American's relationship with the BCEC, ruling that Corcoran's comments were protected petitioning activity.

An appellate court revived the suit, ruling that Corcoran's comments were not made before a governmental entity, but rather the South Boston Community Development Foundation.

On further appellate review, Justice Cowin upheld the original ruling, stating that the foundation is, in fact, an executive body.

The anti-SLAPP statute protects a citizen from retaliation from exercising his right to petition.

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