Boley v. Atlantic Monthly Group

Boley v. Atlantic Monthly Group, et al., No. 1:13-cv-00089-RBW (DC Federal Court)

Importance: The DC federal court expressly held that the DC anti-SLAPP statute applies in federal court.

Summary: Boley, a former high-ranking official in the Republic of Liberia, sued Atlantic Monthly Group and a correspondent, alleging that two articles defamed him by accusing him of having committed war crimes and violated International human rights. After the defendants filed an anti-SLAPP and Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the federal district court granted the anti-SLAPP motion and dismissed the lawsuit.

The federal district court first held that the DC anti-SLAPP statute applies in federal court. It held that, because “the alleged commission of war crimes by a former high-level foreign official and that official’s subsequent arrest, investigation, and administrative charging by federal authorities” was a matter of public interest, the challenged statements were covered by the statute. The court held that Boley had not shown a likelihood of success on the merits because the challenged statements were covered by the fair report and fair comment privileges, were protected statements of opinion, or were not made with actual malice, so that the anti-SLAPP motion should be granted.

Boley did not file a notice of appeal, and the defendants did not seek attorneys’ fees.

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