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Activist Who Sat in Tree for 70 Days Seeks Dismissal of Trespass Suit

March 13, 2003|Kristina Sauerwein | Times Staff Writer

The celebrated tree sitter who spent 70 days in a centuries-old oak in Stevenson Ranch to prevent its removal has asked a Los Angeles County judge to dismiss the trespassing lawsuit brought against him by the landowner.

Anthony Zinnanti, attorney for environmental activist John Quigley, filed a motion Tuesday requesting that the complaint be thrown out, claiming it undermined his 1st Amendment rights. Zinnanti also said the suit is moot because Quigley left the tree and agreed he would not re-enter the oak.

The developer, John Laing Homes, which was being pressed by the county to widen the road near the oak for a subdivision, issued the complaint in January.

Laing Regional President Bill Rattazzi declined comment Wednesday, then said, "Quigley can do whatever he wants [regarding the motion]. He trespassed," Rattazzi said. " ... We don't think this is newsworthy, quite frankly."

Quigley began his protest on Nov. 1, attracting international media attention and support for practicing peaceful civil disobedience in the massive oak along Pico Canyon Road.

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