Author Archives: Leslie Machado

DC Circuit holds anti-SLAPP statute does not apply in federal court diversity case

The DC Circuit held this morning that the DC anti-SLAPP statute does not apply in a federal court diversity case because “Federal Rules 12 and 56 answer the same question as the Anti-SLAPP Act’s special motion to dismiss provision” (the Erie issue).  This is obviously big news as it provides an obvious opportunity for forum shopping, with plaintiffs filing suit in federal court, where the statute is now inapplicable, instead of Superior Court, where the statute applies. According to the DC Circuit’s opinion, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12 and 56 address “the circumstances under which a court must dismiss …

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Three Takeaways from the DC Superior Court’s Order granting C4ADS’s anti-SLAPP motion

I have previously blogged about the defamation lawsuit between the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS) and a Ukraine-based shipping company, Kaalbye Shipping International, in which Kaalbye alleged that that a C4ADS report about the shipments of Russian and Ukrainian arms defamed it.  On Tuesday, the DC Superior Court granted C4ADS’s anti-SLAPP motion in a lengthy Opinion, concluding that Kaalbye had not provided evidence of damages and that the challenge statements were protected opinion, not defamatory or not made with actual malice.  Here are three takeaways 

“Its All About the Benjamins”

When Puff Daddy (n/k/a Diddy; f/k/a P. Diddy, Sean Combs, Puffy) rapped “Its all about the Benjamins,” I doubt he was thinking about the Forras v. Rauf case.  (For background on the case, see prior posts here, and here, and here).  But, now that the DC Circuit briefing is complete in that case, it is clear that the appeal really is all about the Benjamins!  Let me explain.  

“The Waiting Is the Hardest Part”

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. 

Forras Case Finally Reaches DC Circuit

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. 

Do Anti-SLAPP Statutes Violate the Plaintiff’s “Access to Courts”

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. 

Fits & Starts in Forras v. Rauf case

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). 

Reflections on the Mann v. CEI Oral Argument

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. 

Temperatures Rise in Mann Libel Suit

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.

Reflections on the Abbas v. Foreign Policy Group Argument

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 …

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