case study, Albert Anyder, Petitioner vs Fred W Phelps Essays

Submitted By tternullo
Words: 901
Pages: 4

GVT 111
Case Study: Albert Snyder, Petitioner VS Fred W Phelps In the Albert Snyder, Petitioner, VS Fred W. Phelps case argued October 6th, 2010 the court came to a decision that tort liability on Westboro for intentional infliction of emotional distress must be set aside. I strongly disagree with the majority opinion for many reasons. The first being that Snyder alleged five state tort law claims: defamation, publicity given to private life, intentional of emotional distress, intrusion upon seclution, and civil conspiracy. How are all these claims all not true when the facts are observed? These Westboro picketers displayed signs for 30 minutes before the funeral and the signs stated “God Hates the USA/Thank God for 9/11”, “American is Doomed”, “Don’t Pray for the USA”, “Thank God for IED’s”, “Thank God for Dead Soldiers”, “God Hates Fags”, “You’re going to hell”, and “God Hates You”. The claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress explains that the defendant intentionally or reck lessly engaged in extreme and outrageous conduct that caused the plaintiff to suffer severe and emotional distress. In this case, all of this is true. Even though public streets and sidewalks have been used for public assembly and debate and there was no violence or shouting the quotes written on the signs were enough to override all of that. It is truly shocking to me how this is allowed because it is a matter of public issues being spoken about. When a student held up a sign stating “Bong Hits for Jesus” the courts laughed when he tried to fight for freedom of speech because he was promoting drug use in a school environment. In this case, Westboro picketers are promoting hatred towards soldiers for doing their job. Soldiers risk their lives for this country every day and should not be treated like this in any circumstances especially at a funeral. The lone dissenting Judge’s facts I can fully agree with for many reasons. He not only states the obvious but he backed up all the reasons why the majority opinion was false. He went over how Snyder is not a public figure, but a parent who’s son got killed in Iraq and wanted to bury his son in peace. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church took that right away from him and turned the funeral into a media event. They verbally attacked Matthew and his family and the court allowed it to happen. The court explains that the respondent’s speech was protected by the 1st Amendment for three reasons, but stated nothing to back up this claim. The first being that their demonstration spoke to broad public issues but this is untrue because clearly Matthew’s situation is different. Second, the court stated that the attack on Matthew Snyder’s family is entitled to first Amendment protection even though the respondent’s motivation was “to increase publicity for its views”. Lastly, the court finds it important that the protest occurred on a public street but this is clearly not enough to dismiss IIED liability. If the protest appeared at my loved one’s funeral I would be very angry and hurt. Even though Snyder stated that he could only see the tops of the picket signs when he drove to the funeral it is still very sad what was written on each sign that Snyder later discovered while watching the news. I would also take everything to court just like Snyder did, but instead keep on