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Defending against a SLAPP

There are several stages to SLAPP litigation. CASP represents clients whose free speech rights have been threatened, from the first responsive pleading through the appellate process. You can expect some, or all, of the following key events in defending against a SLAPP:

  • Filing a Response You have a limited amount of time (typically, 30 days) to file and deliver “an initial responsive pleading.” More …
  • Filing a Special Motion to Strike. This motion (also called an “anti-SLAPP motion”) generally must be filed 60 days from the date the complaint is served (received), and is the best way to put an end to a SLAPP early in the proceedings.  Filing an anti-SLAPP motion is also considered a first responsive pleading (as discussed above). More …
  • Dealing with Discovery. Discovery is the process by which parties formally gather information from each other in a lawsuit, but it is stayed (suspended) by the filing of a special motion to strike. More …
  • Opposition. Nine court days before the hearing on your motion, the plaintiff must file and serve its legal arguments and evidence in opposition to your motion.
  • Reply. Five court days before the hearing on your motion, you can file and serve your reply to the plaintiff’s opposition. This may include legal arguments, additional evidence, and your objections to the plaintiff’s evidence.
  • Hearing. At the hearing on your motion, the lawyers for each side (or the parties, if they are not represented by counsel) can make their oral arguments before the judge and respond to the judge’s questions and concerns (if any).

Possible outcomes:

  • Order by the Court. After a hearing on the special motion to strike, the judge will issue an order either granting or denying the motion. An order granting the special motion to strike will dismiss the applicable claims. If the court grants the motion, the defendant is entitled to an award of attorneys fees. If there are multiple “causes of action” (claims), the motion may be granted as to some and denied as to others.
  • Appeal. After the ruling on a special motion to strike, either party can immediately appeal the Court’s ruling. An appeal should be considered when the motion is denied. If an appeal is not pursued, the lawsuit may move into the trial phase. More …

Other considerations when defending against a SLAPP:

  • Insurance. Frequently, a SLAPP victim’s homeowner’s, renter’s or other insurance policy will cover, or potentially cover, the costs of defending against a SLAPP. Depending upon the facts and circumstances of your case and the provisions of your insurance policy, it may be advantageous to report the SLAPP to your insurer. CASP attorneys have many years of experience dealing with insurance companies in the SLAPP context, and we often work together with adjusters and insurer-appointed co-counsel to fight a SLAPP.
  • Dealing with Co-defendants. You may not be the only person being sued by a SLAPP filer.  A common strategy is for the filer to sue all vocal opposition and name multiple defendants in the suit.  In addition, the SLAPP filer can sue numerous as yet unnamed “DOE” defendants.  This means that the SLAPP filer can, later in the case, replace a “DOE” defendant with a named individual.  If you are one of a number of people being sued, you should consider joining together with the other defendants to file the anti-SLAPP motion. If other defendants have their own lawyer, CASP can work with counsel for co-defendants as part of your representation.
  • Dealing with the Press.  Certain cases will be of interest to the media. Getting favorable media coverage may help your case.  CASP can help clients develop and implement a media relations strategy.
  • SLAPPing Back. A SLAPPback is a lawsuit filed after a SLAPP has been dismissed that seeks monetary damages, including pain and suffering, from the SLAPP filer on the theory that the original SLAPP constituted malicious prosecution. CASP can help you determine if your case merits a SLAPPback. More …

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The information on this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. The information here is meant to provide general information to the public. We would be happy to consider your specific situation and the possibility of providing legal advice or assistance if you contact us directly.

Site last updated July 21, 2014 @ 11:30 am; This content last updated June 19, 2014 @ 12:37 pm