Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation "SLAPP"

A "SLAPP" lawsuit refers to a "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation."

A "SLAPP" lawsuit is a lawsuit that is intended to:

  1. Intimidate;
  2. Censor; or
  3. Silence.

The idea is that they are filed to burden individuals with the cost of a legal defense in the hopes of subsequently draining their will to invoke their "right to freedom of speech."

“Freedom of Speech”

The right to freedom of speech and petition are enshrined in the First Amendment.

In many jurisdictions, "SLAPP" lawsuits have been deemed illegal if they are found to have been filed with the intent to obstruct freedom of speech regarding "a matter of public concern."

"A Matter of Public Concern"

Protected communications in a public forum about "a matter of public concern" include issues related to:

  • the Government;
  • a Public Official or Public Figure;
  • the Health and Safety of the Public;
  • a Good, Product, or Service in the Market;
  • Environmental, Economic, or Community Well-Being.

What's the Issue?

The issue is that SLAPP suits are being used to silenced and harass critics by forcing them to spend money to defend baseless claims.  SLAPP lawsuits allow meritless claims to force individuals into what may be years of litigation and thousands of dollars spent on defense counsel.

No Need to Apologize or "Correct" Your Statement

If you feel that you have had a SLAPP suit brought against you with the intent to silence your speech regarding a matter of public concern, please call to speak with an attorney about your matter.

Anti-SLAPP Laws

Anti-SLAPP Laws - The Remedy To SLAPP Suits

"Anti-SLAPP Laws" were enacted to provide a remedy to SLAPP suits.  

These laws are intended to prevent people from using a lawsuit, or the threat of a potential lawsuit, to intimidate people who are exercising their First Amendment Rights to speak freely about a matter of public concern.

New York State "Anti-SLAPP" Statutes

  • New York Civil Rights Law Section 70-a
  • New York Civil Rights Law Section 76-a
  • New York Civil Practice Law and Rules ("CPLR") Section 3211(g)
  • New York Civil Practice Law and Rules ("CPLR") Section 3212(h)

The New York anti-SLAPP Statute, codified under New York Civil Rights Law Section 70-a and 76-a and New York Civil Practice Law and Rules ("CPLR") Section 3211(g) and 3212(h), give you the ability to file a motion to dismiss a complaint brought against you by someone trying to hinder your efforts to "report on, comment on, challenge, or oppose an application to the government."

Significant "SLAPP" Cases in New York

Public Participation Protection Act

The Public Participation Protection Act is

"Standard of Proof" for Party Prosecuting the Motion

The following is the standard of proof required for a party prosecuting a motion to dismiss:

  • "Pleading With Particularity:" The party prosecuting the motion to dismiss would have to show "with particularity the circumstances giving rise to the claim."

  • "Preponderance of the Evidence:" They would also have to show, "by a preponderance of the evidence," the probability of prevailing on the merits in order to survive the motion to dismiss their lawsuit.

"Standard of Proof" for Party Seeking Dismissal

The following is the standard of proof required for a party seeking dismissal:

  • "Preponderance of the Evidence:" The "standard of proof" required for a party seeking dismissal of a SLAPP lawsuit is based on their constitutional rights under a "preponderance of evidence standard."

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