Category Archives: General

Its Time for the Supreme Court to Decide if state anti-SLAPP Statutes Apply in Federal Court

Growing disagreement among federal courts over whether state anti-SLAPP statutes apply in federal court makes clear that the Supreme Court is going to have to resolve this issue. The DC Circuit created a circuit split when it held, in Abbas v. Foreign Policy Group, that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure exclusively “establish the standards for granting pre-trial judgment to defendants in cases in federal court” and that, because the District of Columbia’s anti-SLAPP statute dictated a pre-trial procedure that conflicted with those rules, it could not apply in a federal court diversity case.  (The parties in the Abbas case …


Decision Holding Washington State’s anti-SLAPP Statute Unconstitutional Could Impact DC anti-SLAPP Statute

Last month, the Washington Supreme Court held that state’s anti-SLAPP statute was unconstitutional because it required trial courts to weigh competing evidence – which was a function expressly reserved for the jury.  With the District of Columbia’s Court of Appeals poised to potentially determine the appropriate standard for deciding a motion under the District’s anti-SLAPP statute, the Washington state decision is a potential game changer.  Here’s why:

Federal anti-SLAPP Statute Proposed in Congress

With the District of Columbia Circuit holding that the DC anti-SLAPP act does not apply in federal court, and at least four judges in the Ninth Circuit concluding that Circuit erred in applying state anti-SLAPP statutes in federal court, the need for a federal anti-SLAPP statute has become more urgent. Accordingly, the “‘Securing Participation, Engagement, and Knowledge Freedom by Reducing Egregious Efforts Act of 2015” or the ‘‘SPEAK FREE Act of 2015” has been introduced in Congress.  Notwithstanding its . . . interesting  . . . name (seriously, who has to come up with the words to fit these acronyms?), …


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DC Circuit’s Abbas decision ripples outward

Last month’s DC Circuit decision in Abbas v. Foreign Policy Group is already affecting pending cases.  Exhibit 1 is the Forras v. Rauf appeal. 

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 …


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.