Author Archives: Leslie Machado
As we approach the fourth anniversary of the date the DC anti-SLAPP statute became effective, parties in several high-profile cases know exactly what Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers meant when they sang that “the waiting is the hardest part.” As I write, they wait for decisions in cases that have the potential to significantly – and materially – alter the DC legal landscape.
After a brief – and unsuccessful – return to the federal district court, the appellants in the Forras v. Rauf case (Vincent Forras and Larry Klayman) have filed their opening brief in the DC Circuit.
At a wonderful panel earlier this month at the ABA Communications Forum in Arizona, leading media attorneys discussed anti-SLAPP lawsuits and developments from around the country. While courts elsewhere are grappling with many of the same issues as in DC (is there a right to immediate appellate review from the denial of an anti-SLAPP motion; in what circumstances should discovery be allowed; what is the applicable standard in deciding whether to grant an anti-SLAPP motion), I learned of a new argument that has been advanced in the “other” Washington.
Remember Forras v. Rauf? In May, DC District Court Judge Rothstein granted the defendants’ anti-SLAPP motion, and off the parties went to the DC Circuit. Or so we thought. After filing a notice of appeal, the plaintiffs moved the district court to reconsider its decision, arguing that the defendants waited too long before filing their anti-SLAPP motion. (In my post on the district court’s decision, here, I explained why, under the unique circumstances presented by the case, I believed the district court’s decision to excuse this delay was correct).
Two days before Thanksgiving, your intrepid blogger joined approximately 60-70 others in the DC Court of Appeals’ ceremonial courtroom to watch the Mann v. CEI oral argument. The panel was comprised of Judges Ruiz, Beckwith and Easterly (who authored the Court’s decision in Burke v. Doe). Here are my impressions.
It has been a few months since I wrote about Michael Mann’s libel suit against National Review, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and two contributors. During that time, the parties have been very busy in both the Superior Court and DC Court of Appeals. Here is what you might have missed.
I attended the Abbas v. Foreign Policy Group argument at the DC Circuit last week. (You can listen to the argument here). Here are my impressions. I agree with Politico that it seems unlikely that the Circuit will reverse the district court’s dismissal of the complaint as none of the three members of the panel quarreled with the district court’s reasoning. Rather, the central question in the appeal now appears to be whether the DC Circuit needs to conclusively decide whether the DC anti-SLAPP statute applies in federal court (the “Erie” issue) or whether it could sidestep that issue and … [ CONTINUE READING
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The DC Circuit has announced that the Abbas v. Foreign Policy Group appeal will be heard on October 20, 2014 before Circuit Judges Kavanaugh, Srinivasan, and Senior Circuit Judge Edwards. For the background facts giving rise to the case, the proceedings in the district court and the issues on appeal, see my posts here, here, here, here, and here. For now, however, I thought I would take a quick look at prior defamation/libel/First Amendment decisions involving these judges.
A “David versus Goliath” battle is playing out in the DC Superior Court, with the DC anti-SLAPP statute in the role of the slingshot.
When it enacted the DC anti-SLAPP Act, the DC Council recognized that SLAPPs “have been increasingly utilized over the past two decades as a means to muzzle speech or efforts to petition the government on issues of public interest.” The Council explained that “the goal of the litigation is not to win the lawsuit but punish the opponent and intimidate them into silence” because “defendants of a SLAPP must dedicate a substantial amount of money, time and legal resources.” As we pass the three-year anniversary of the effective date of the DC anti-SLAPP Act, we now have a more precise … [ CONTINUE READING
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