Fur flies

A Dallas-based anti-fur group is targeted in a free-speech battle

Several San Diego protesters, fearing financial ruin, signed various agreements with the mall limiting their right to picket, he says.

Mindel says he believes there is more litigation because groups such as his have a national agenda to picket major retailers rather than one-store fur boutiques. Goodwin's Dallas-based organization has just three targets on its protest agenda: Neiman Marcus, Macy's East, and Burlington Coat Factory.

"I think as a consequence, when you mess with the bigwigs, you get sued," Mindel says.

He says right-to-protest battles generate publicity and pose problems for retailers. "I don't think they were ready for a publicity war in San Diego," Mindel says. "We don't have to worry about alienating customers. We don't have to mind our p's and q's. And it really doesn't matter how they regard the fur issue, most Americans do mind when someone is trying to intimidate someone or take away their right to free speech."

Goodwin says he's done his best to turn the new suit to his organization's benefit. It's fairly uncommon for the person being sued to jump to issuing a press release, which is just what Goodwin did in this case.

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