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Stranahan v. Meyer

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Stranahan v. Meyer (also known as Stranahan v. Fred Meyer) is a legal case heard in the Oregon Supreme Court in 1999, upon which they ruled in 2000. The underlying issue concerned the arrest of a petition circulator who was soliciting signatures at a Fred Meyer grocery store over the objection of the store owner.
In its ruling, the Oregon Supreme Court determined that in the case at hand, the Fred Meyer grocery store had acted within its rights in removing Stranahan from its premises.

The plaintiff, Lois Stranahan, sued Fred Meyer, the defendant and petitioner on review.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Progressive Campaigns, Inc. filed amicus briefs in the case.

The Oregon Supreme Court reversed the decision of Judge Robert Redding of the Multnomah County Circuit Court.

The Supreme Court's earlier decision, Lloyd Corporation v. Whiffen also dealt with the right of initiative petitioners to utilize private property against the wishes of the property owner.

Plaintiff Lois Stranahan

Stranahan, a political activist in Oregon, had regularly worked on petition drives. At the time of the incident at issue in Stranahan v. Meyer, Stranahan was gathering signatures to put initiatives on the ballot concerning sales taxes and the rights of initiative petitioners outside of a Fred Meyer shopping center.

On October 11, 1989, Stranahan and another signature-gatherer were arrested for trespassing outside a Fred Meyer store at Southeast 82nd and Foster in Portland, Oregon, at the instigation of the store manager.

According to the Supreme Court's decision,

Stranahan's actions throughout her petitioning activity and the ensuing arrest were peaceful. She had notified Fred Meyer management that she would be soliciting signatures, and she had been doing so for several hours at the time of her arrest. In the course of being arrested, Stranahan suffered physical injuries. She later filed this false arrest action against Fred Meyer, maintaining that she had a state constitutional right to be on Fred Meyer's property for the purpose of soliciting signatures, that her arrest therefore was unlawful, and that Fred Meyer should be required to respond in damages for the injuries that she had sustained. For its part, Fred Meyer argued that Stranahan had no such constitutional right and, therefore, that it was entitled to have her arrested for trespass when she refused to leave the premises after having been directed to do so by Fred Meyer personnel.

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