Category Archives: General
Unless something unexpected happens, the Abbas v. Foreign Policy Group appeal will force the DC Circuit to expressly decide whether the DC anti-SLAPP statute applies in federal court (the so-called “Erie” issue). (For background on the defendants’ anti-SLAPP motion, see this post; for a summary of Abbas’ opposition, the District of Columbia’s amicus brief and the defendants’ reply brief, see this post; for an analysis of the District Court’s decision, see this post).
When we last wrote about Michael Mann’s libel suit against National Review, Competitive Enterprise Institute, and two individual defendants, the DC Superior Court had denied anti-SLAPP motions filed by all defendants. Since that date, there have been several notable developments in the case, including an appeal to the DC Court of Appeals, a return to the DC Superior Court, and another upcoming appeal. Here is what you might have missed:
The DC Circuit’s decision in Farah v. Esquire Magazine turned out to be a dud from an anti-SLAPP perspective. The court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Farah’s Complaint, but did so under Rule 12(b)(6), thus mooting any consideration of arguments made under the DC anti-SLAPP act. The opinion is not a great surprise. In its brief to the DC Circuit, Esquire suggested that, because the Complaint was also dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6), the district court’s decision could be affirmed on this alternative basis. And the questions at oral argument (link here) did not focus on the anti-SLAPP act. Nevertheless, … [ CONTINUE READING
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There is an interesting anti-SLAPP case that has now reached the DC Court of Appeals. Here is the background. Susan Burke is a DC lawyer, best known for representing plaintiffs in suits against the U.S. military or federal government contractors. In January 2012, an editor allegedly edited Ms. Burke’s Wikipedia entry to suggest that a DC federal judge had criticized a case she brought against the company then named Blackwater. In fact, Ms. Burke was not involved in the case referenced by the Wikipedia editor, and was instead counsel in a separate case involving the same defendant.
On September 27, the DC federal court applied the DC anti-SLAPP statute and dismissed the libel suit brought by Yasser Abbas, the son of Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority. In so doing, Judge Sullivan became the third DC federal court judge to expressly hold that the DC anti-SLAPP statute can be invoked in federal court, joining Judge Walton in Boley v. Atlantic Monthly Group, Inc. and Judge Collyer in Farah v. Esquire Magazine, Inc. (Of course, in 3M v. Boulter, Judge Wilkins held that it does not apply in federal court).
I previously blogged about the libel suit brought by Sheldon Adelson against the National Jewish Democratic Council and others, alleging that an article they published, which reported that Adelson had personally approved of prostitution in his casinos, and urged then-Presidential candidate Mitt Romney to reject his “dirty money,” was false and defamatory. The defendants initially moved to dismiss the suit under Rule 12(b)(6) and the DC anti-SLAPP act. At the Court’s request, the parties then briefed whether the suit would survive under Nevada’s anti-SLAPP statute. On September 30, the Court dismissed the suit, holding that it failed to state a claim … [ CONTINUE READING
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I have previously blogged about the panel that will be hearing the Farah v. Esquire appeal on October 3. Here’s a brief summary on the relevant background facts, the proceedings in the district court and the pertinent issues on appeal.
The DC Circuit has announced that the Farah v. Esquire appeal will be heard on October 3, 2013 before Circuit Judges Rogers and Brown and Senior Circuit Judge Williams. In a separate post, I will summarize the background facts giving rise to the case, the proceedings in the district court and the issues on appeal. For now, however, I thought I would take a quick look at prior defamation/libel/First Amendment decisions involving these judges. As explained below, for two of the judges on the panel, there will be a sense of déjà vu when the argument begins on October 3.
Several recent decisions have me wondering if it is time for the DC Council to revise the DC anti-SLAPP statute to clarify two issues that continue to be in serious dispute. First, is the denial of a motion under the anti-SLAPP statute immediately appealable?
In the three plus years since the DC anti-SLAPP statute first became effective, parties have argued that it violates the Home Rule, cannot be used retroactively, cannot be applied in federal court, and does not apply to motions made more than 45 days after service. Now, in a galaxy far, far away (well, actually New York), a high-profile plaintiff is asserting a new argument: that the statute violates the Seventh Amendment.