Black Lives Matter Foundation Wins $200,000+ in Attorneys' Fees, Costs

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation has been awarded more than $200,000 in attorneys' fees and costs in the wake of a judge's 2023 dismissal on free-speech grounds of a lawsuit filed by a coalition of BLM chapters against the foundation, accusing it of defrauding the local activist groups.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Bowick issued her ruling Monday in the wake of her June dismissal of the complaint filed in September 2022 by Black Lives Matter Grassroots Inc. Also named as a defendant was Shalomya Bowers, a consultant and foundation board member.

The judge also dismissed the part of the case against Bowers, finding that the plaintiff "fails to establish it has standing to bring its claims and therefore plaintiff fails to establish a probability of prevailing on its claims."

The judge awarded the foundation about $215,745 in attorneys' fees and costs. She heard arguments Feb. 20 and took the case under submission before ruling Monday. The foundation had sought nearly $440,000 in attorneys' fees and costs.

On Feb. 2, Bowick awarded Bowers $57,660 in attorneys' fees and nearly $1,000 in costs. He had sought nearly $64,000 in attorneys' fees and costs.

The June dismissal motions were brought under the state's anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) law, which is intended to prevent people from using courts, and potential threats of a lawsuit, to intimidate those who are exercising their First Amendment rights.

BLM Grassroots Inc. has appealed Bowick's ruling. The organization alleged that the foundation, which has been a clearinghouse for donations to support BLM over the years, has fundraised off the work of the chapters, but mismanaged the funds and shut local chapters out of decision making.

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