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).
After filing their motion to reconsider, the plaintiffs asked the DC Circuit to hold the case “in abeyance” until the district court ruled because they were “confident that the District Court will issue a ruling in Appellants’ favor and that this appeal will no longer be necessary.” Although the defendants argued that this request was a stalling tactic, the DC Circuit suspended the briefing schedule.
It appears that the plaintiffs’ confidence was misplaced. Last month, the district court denied their motion for reconsideration, holding that it lacked jurisdiction because the motion was filed after the notice of appeal had been entered. (Yes, the irony is not lost that the plaintiffs waited too long to file their reconsideration motion, which argued that the defendants waited too long to file their anti-SLAPP motion).
The DC Circuit has now issued a new scheduling order, with the plaintiffs/appellants’ opening brief due January 5, 2015. Presumably they will raise the timeliness argument at that time.