At a Glance
On December 19, 2017, CCR and Davis Wright Tremaine filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the case should be dismissed because the board had the authority to adopt the boycott, which is constitutionally protected, and because the current co-op board has found that the case, which was purportedly brought on behalf of the co-op, does not serve the co-op’s interest and should be dismissed.
Bruce Johnson and Brooke Howlett of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Barbara Harvey, CCR cooperating counsel
Steven Goldberg, CCR cooperating counsel
Joellen Reineck Wilhelm
Davis, et al. v. Cox, et al. is a lawsuit filed against 16 current and former members of the Olympia Food Co-op Board of Directors over their decision to boycott Israeli goods. The boycott is part of the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel for violations of international law and the denial of Palestinian human rights. The lawsuit was filed in a Washington State court by five co-op members seeking to block the co-op's boycott and to collect monetary damages against the board members, claiming that they acted beyond the scope of their authority and breached their fiduciary duties. The Center for Constitutional Rights and co-counsel Davis Wright Tremaine LLP argue that this action is an illegal Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) and should be dismissed as it attempts to chill the board’s public statements on an issue of public interest. For more on the right to boycott, see our factsheet. This case is part of CCR’s efforts to support activists and grassroots organizations facing legal attacks for their advocacy on behalf of Palestinian human rights.
In line with a long history of social justice work, the board of the Olympia Food Co-op, a nonprofit corporation formed in 1976, passed by consensus a boycott of Israeli goods in protest against human rights abuses in Palestine. Subsequently, the co-op held annual board elections, and the five candidates endorsed by Olympia BDS won overwhelmingly. Three of the people who brought the case ran for the board opposing the boycott and lost. Instead of seeking a member vote on the boycott, they filed this lawsuit against board members.