A group of leading news organizations and a related professional organization have asked the DC Circuit for leave to file an amicus brief in support of the appellants in Sherrod v. Breitbart and 3M v. Davis.
Their motion explains that they “will argue that the District of Columbia Anti-SLAPP Act applies in federal court to diversity actions.” While this issue will be briefed, at length, by the parties to the appeals, the media’s motion argues that they “bring substantial experience to bear on the issues presented here – not simply in terms of legal expertise, but also in terms of describing the practical impact of anti-SLAPP statutes around the country.” The motion further explains that, if leave is granted, the scope of the brief will be limited:
Media Amici may briefly address whether interlocutory appeal from denial of an Anti-SLAPP motion is appropriate and whether the Act violates the Home Rule Act, in so far as these issues overlap with the central issue on appeal of the applicability of the Act in diversity actions. But Media Amici will not address whether the Act applies retroactively or the merits of the underlying cases.
Interestingly, the attorney representing the Media Amici is the same attorney who successfully utilized the anti-SLAPP statute to obtain dismissal of Farah v. Esquire (now also on appeal to the DC Circuit). She is also representing the defendants in the Dean v. NBC cases. And both Hearst and NBC, which are defendants in those actions, are part of the media effort here.
The motion explains that, if leave is granted, the Media Amici will file one brief in support of the appellants in both appeals in September 24. It acknowledges that Public Citizen already received leave to file an amicus brief, but explains that its brief is “on behalf of neither party” and is only in the Sherrod case.
In Snyder v. City Paper, some of these same entities filed an amicus brief in support of the defendants there. That case, however, was pending in DC Superior Court and, as such, the brief did not address the issues central to this appeal.