The trend of copious filings in the 3M v. Boulter case continued today with the plaintiff filing two briefs – a 25-reply brief in support of its motion to strike the anti-SLAPP motion filed by the Davis defendants and a 45-page opposition to the Davis defendants’ anti-SLAPP motion – and a “joinder” motion by other defendants in the same case, joining the Davis defendants’ anti-SLAPP motion.
In its reply brief, 3M continues its argument that the statute violates the Home Rule act, which prohibits the DC Council from enacting any law “with respect to” Title 11 of the DC Code. Responding to the arguments of the DC Attorney General and the Davis defendants that the Home Rule limitation affects only the “organization and jurisdiction,” and that the anti-SLAPP statute does neither, 3M argues that this “parenthetical expression” does not change the substantive scope of the prohibition. 3M also argues that the statute is quintessentially procedural in nature and thus different from anti-SLAPP statutes in other states, which explicitly and expressly provide substantive immunity. 3M persuasively argues that the DC statute must be procedural because, where statutes provide substantive immunity from suit, they provide a mechanism for interlocutory appeal, which the DC statute does not.
The remainder of 3M’s reply brief argues that, in any event, it must be afforded discovery at least equivalent to what it would be allowed under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and that the statute cannot apply to its claim for tortious interference with contract or prospective business relations because the allegedly defamatory statements were made for “commercial interests” rather than in connection with a claim of public interest.
3M’s opposition to the Davis defendants’ anti-SLAPP motion echos and significantly expands on this last point. It argues that the moving parties cannot show, as they must, that the claim arises from an act in furtherance of the right of advocacy on issues of public interest because the challenged statements were directed primarily to protecting “commercial interests,” and thus fall outside the protection of the statute. 3M also argues that its burden is “minimal” at this stage, and is amply met. To the extent the court disagrees, 3M argues that it is entitled to discovery. (This appears to be in response to the court’s November 15 Order).