Center for Advanced Defense Studies v. Kaalbye Shipping International, et al.

Center for Advanced Defense Studies v. Kaalbye Shipping International, et al., No. 2014-ca-2273 (DC Superior Court)

Importance: None

Summary:     The Center for Advanced Defense Studies (“C4ADS”) published a report about arms shipping. Kaalbye believed that it had been defamed in the report and threatened to sue C4ADS for defamation. C4ADS instead filed a declaratory judgment action, seeking a declaration that its report was not defamatory and for damages stemming from Kaalbye’s complaints. When Kaalbye counterclaimed for defamation, C4ADS filed an anti-SLAPP motion.

The Superior Court granted C4ADS’ anti-SLAPP motion and dismissed the counterclaim with prejudice. The court held that, because C4ADS had shown that the counterclaim arose from speech covered by the statute, Kaalbye needed to show a “substantial likelihood” that it would prevail on the merits, after being provided with an opportunity to present evidence to the court at an expedited hearing. It held that Kaalbye had not satisfied its burden because: (a) while Kaalbye was a limited purpose public figure, it had not shown that the challenged statements were made with actual malice; or (b) it had not shown actual harm caused by the allegedly defamatory statements, among other problems.

The parties thereafter filed a joint stipulation with the Superior Court, dismissing all claims and counterclaims. There was no appeal.

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