U.S. Fourth Circuit - The FindLaw 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Snyder v. Phelps, No. 08-1026

In a state tort lawsuit brought by plaintiffs arising from defendants' protest against gays in the military near the funeral for plaintiffs' son who had died in the Iraq war, district court's award of $8 million in compensatory damages and $2.1 million in punitive damages against defendant-Baptist church and members is reversed as the judgment attaches tort liability to constitutionally protected speech, and thus, the district court erred in declining to award defendants judgment as a matter of law. 

Read Snyder v. Phelps, No. 08-1026

Appellate Information

Argued: December 2, 2008

Decided: September 24, 2009


Opinion by Judge King


For Appellant:  Margie Jean Phelps.

For Appellees:  Sean E. Summers, Barley & Snyder, LLC