Anti-SLAPP laws

Van Dyke v. Retzlaff

November 28, 2018

The Reporters Committee and 39 media organizations filed an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit in Van Dyke v. Retzlaff.  The defendant appealed to the Fifth Circuit after the district court denied his TCPA motion to dismiss, holding that the TCPA does not apply in federal court. The amicus brief argues that the TCPA, like other state anti-SLAPP statutes, should apply in federal court because it provides substantive protections for First Amendment freedoms, including those of media organizations retaliated against for reporting on matters of public concern.  Attorneys from Vinson & Elkins LLP served as local counsel on the amicus brief.

 

Rudkin v. Roger Beasley Imports, Inc.

September 5, 2018

The Reporters Committee and 39 media organizations filed an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit in Rudkin v. Roger Beasley Imports, Inc.  An employer moved to dismiss invasion of privacy claims by a former employee under the Texas Citizen’s Participation Act, but the district court held that the TCPA does not apply in federal court. The amicus brief argues that the TCPA, like other state anti-SLAPP statutes, should apply in federal court because it provides substantive protections for First Amendment freedoms, including those of media organizations retaliated against for reporting on matters of public concern.  Attorneys from Vinson & Elkins LLP served as local counsel on the amicus brief.

 

Breazeale et al. v. Victim Services, Inc. et al.

February 20, 2018

The Reporters Committee filed an amicus brief in support of neither party in Breazeale et al. v. Victim Services, Inc., et al,  which is before the 9th Circuit on the appellants' petition for rehearing. The panel decision in Breazeale held that the denial of a special motion to strike under the California Anti-SLAPP Statute was not immediately appealeable because the motion was denied on the basis of the "public interest exception" to the Anti-SLAPP Statute. The amicus brief urges the Court to clarify that its holding does not apply when a special motion to strike under the Anti-SLAPP Statute is denied on grounds other than the public interest exception.  The amicus brief was drafted by attorneys at Jassy Vick Carolan LLP.

Steinmetz v. Coyle & Caron Inc.

January 24, 2017

John and Jane Steinmetz filed a defamation lawsuit against a landscaping design company, after an argument following a government body's rejection of the Steinmetz's construction plans. The defendant moved to dismiss under the Massachusetts anti-SLAPP statute, but the plaintiffs argued that the statute did not apply in federal court and was an unconstitutional denial of a jury trial under the 7th Amendment. The district court dismissed the suit. On appeal, the Reporters Committee and Harvard Law School's Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief in the First Circuit. The brief focuses on the history and public policy of anti-SLAPP legislation and how these statutes are necessary for a healthy press.

Supplemental testimony re: SPEAK FREE Act, H.R. 2304

August 10, 2016

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Executive Director Bruce Brown submitted supplemental testimony to the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, explaining the Constitutional authority for enacting the federal anti-SLAPP bill. Specifically, the testimony details how Congress is authorized to enact the SPEAK FREE Act under the Commerce Clause and is authorized to include a broad removal provision under Article III.

Federal anti-SLAPP bill is focus of House hearing

Luis Ferre Sadurni | Libel | News | June 23, 2016
News
June 23, 2016

On Wednesday, the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice of the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on an anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) bill, which would combat lawsuits filed to intimidate exercise of free speech.

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) introduced H.R. 2304, the SPEAK FREE Act, last summer and the bill was referred to the subcommittee on June 1, 2015. Similar to anti-SLAPP laws passed at the state level, the proposed legislation would amend the federal judicial code to allow defendants speaking out about official proceedings or matters of public concern a special motion to dismiss the case early in litigation as well as a stay on discovery in order to combat SLAPPs.

Testimony of Bruce Brown before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice re: Speak Free Act, H.R. 2304

June 22, 2016

In testimony prepared for the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Executive Director Bruce Brown tells lawmakers that the time has come to enact a federal anti-SLAPP law.

Tobinick v. Novella

May 31, 2016

Dr. Edward Tobinick sued Dr. Steven Novella for unfair competition, trade libel, and libel per se in federal court after Novella published two online articles about what Novella believed were Tobinick's unproven practice of treating Alzheimer's disease and strokes with the drug Embrel. Tobinick also sued Novella under the Lanham Act for the same publications. The Reporters Committee, with 24 other media organizations, filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit arguing the District Court properly dismissed Tobinick's state claims under the California anti-SLAPP statute and federal claims under the Lanham Act. The brief asserts the District Court correctly applied the California anti-SLAPP statute in federal court because the statute does not conflict with the federal rules and is a substantive protection, not a procedural rule.

Washington Supreme Court strikes down anti-SLAPP law as unconstitutional

Kimberly Chow | Libel | News | May 28, 2015
News
May 28, 2015

In a disappointing ruling today, the Washington Supreme Court struck down the state’s anti-SLAPP law in its entirety, holding that it violates the right to trial by jury under the Washington Constitution.

The decision marks the first time an anti-SLAPP law has been held unconstitutional. The Washington law, RCW 4.24.525, required judges to weigh the disputed facts of cases and dismiss them if they determined that the plaintiff could not show by clear and convincing evidence a probability of prevailing on the claim. The Washington Supreme Court held that it must be juries, not judges, who make those determinations of fact.

Federal anti-SLAPP bill introduced in the House

Kimberly Chow | Libel | News | May 15, 2015
News
May 15, 2015

A federal anti-SLAPP bill with bipartisan co-sponsors was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives this week. The SPEAK FREE Act, introduced Wednesday by Reps. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, and Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., is seen as an important step toward nationwide protection against meritless suits that chill speech.