Nevada high court defends Tahoe bear activists' free speech

U.S. Court Watch

Social media comments about protecting bears that were posted by Lake Tahoe activists referring to a longtime wildlife biologist as a murderer constitute "good faith communications" protected as free speech, the Nevada Supreme Court says.

The recent opinion doesn't end a lawsuit filed in Washoe County District Court in Reno.

But it settles a key legal question in the dispute between Carl Lackey, a Nevada Department of Wildlife biologist, and Carolyn Stark, who administers a Facebook page that posts criticism of the state's bear control tactics, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.

The lawsuit is the latest development in a yearslong legal and public relations battle between the agency and a group of activists who oppose state methods for managing bears. In 2018, a judge issued a protective order to keep Stark, who lives in the community of Incline Village, away from another state biologist who says Stark stalked her in a dispute over the capture of nuisance bears.

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