Posts in Anti-SLAPP Statutes.

We wrote recently about Sherrod v. Breitbart and O’Connor, the case argued last month in the D.C. Circuit that asks the Court to decide, among other questions, whether the District of Columbia’s anti-SLAPP statute should be applied in federal court.

The federal courts of appeals that have analyzed this question have all agreed that state anti-SLAPP statutes should be applied—at least to some degree—in federal court.  Those cases point to the Ninth Circuit’s 1999 decision in Newsham v. Lockheed Missiles & Space Co., in which the Court held that California’s anti-SLAPP ... Read More 

Last week, we made our first foray into Sherrod v. Breitbart and O’Connor, which was argued in the D.C. Circuit several weeks ago and which will, hopefully, address the question whether the District of Columbia’s new anti-SLAPP statute should be applied by a federal court sitting in diversity.

In that post, we noted that the case also presented an interesting timeliness question.  In denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss brought pursuant to the D.C. anti-SLAPP statute, the district court held that the motion was not timely filed.  It is important to understand the unique ... Read More 

Until now, we have not yet waded into the legal and political morass that is Shirley Sherrod v. Andrew Breitbart and Larry O’Connor.  In case you have not picked up a newspaper in the past three years, this is a complaint brought by a former official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture against Andrew Breitbart and one of his employees.  The Washington Post described the case as follows:
Sherrod was ousted from her job as an Agriculture Department rural-development official in 2010 after Breitbart posted an edited video of Sherrod, who is black, supposedly making racist remarks. She ...

As we discussed in this earlier post, anti-SLAPP statutes are laws designed to prevent plaintiffs from using the threat of costly litigation to chill the free speech rights of people seeking to participate in the public debate over important issues.

SLAPP suits -- Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation -- are typically claims for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, or tortious interference with contract filed against a party who has criticized or spoken out against the plaintiff in some public context.  The paradigm case is a ... Read More 

The California Supreme Court in mid-December ruled that a statutory exception to the state's landmark anti-SLAPP statute should be narrowly construed, reversing a lower court ruling to the contrary.

California's anti-SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) statute, which was the first of its kind when it was passed in 1992, allows defendants to make a special motion to strike any claim against them arising out of their "right of petition or free speech" unless the plaintiff can show a probability of success on the claim.  In essence, the statute prevents ... Read More 

Rachel Donadio wrote recently about Italy's litigious Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi.  In three separate stints as Prime Minister, Berlusconi has himself instituted at least two defamation lawsuits against his critics, and a third has been brought by a close associate.

These lawsuits include an action Berlusconi brought in Italy in July 2001 against the British weekly publication The Economist.  The Economist has been a frequent critic of Berlusconi's administrations, and his lawsuit centered upon an article about Berlusconi that appeared in an April 2001 issue of ... Read More 


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