Tag Archives: abbas

Associated Press Files Anti-SLAPP Motion in DC Federal Court Diversity Case

In January, I wrote about the DC Court of Appeals’ then-recent Mann decision, and specifically about the Court’s response to the DC Circuit’s Abbas decision, which held that the DC anti-SLAPP statute could not apply in a federal court diversity case: According to the Mann court, part of the Abbas court’s reasoning was that the burden imposed by the DC anti-SLAPP statute was materially different from the burden imposed by Fed. R. Civ. P. 56. The Mann court now expressly holds that the burdens are the same, and then states that “[t]his court’s interpretation of the standard applicable to the …

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Foreign Officials, Defamation Claims and the DC anti-SLAPP Statute

For the third time in the past five years, a court has applied the DC anti-SLAPP statute to dismiss a defamation suit brought by a foreign official.

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Three Takeaways from the DC Court of Appeals’ Mann Decision

There have been numerous articles about the long-awaited DC Court of Appeals’ opinion in Michael Mann’s libel suit against the National Review and Competitive Enterprise Institute, including in the Washington Post, Buzzfeed, Inside Higher Education, and National Review.  While there is much to analyze, consider and discuss in the 105-page opinion, as it relates to the DC anti-SLAPP statute, there are three specific takeaways.

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Is There a “Classic” SLAPP Case?

One of the interesting things about the Doe v. Burke II appeal is the Superior Court’s reasoning that, although the complaint was dismissed under the DC anti-SLAPP statute, no attorneys’ fees were warranted because the case was not a “classic” SLAPP.  The decision struck me as interesting because numerous movants have argued that their case is a “classic” or “typical” SLAPP.  As I explain below, while every movant undoubtedly would like to argue that its case presents a “classic” SLAPP, routinely doing so has the potential to distract the court and could result in legitimate anti-SLAPP motions being denied because the court …

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What’s the Impact of the DC Circuit’s Abbas Decision?

The DC Circuit’s Abbas decision, holding that the DC anti-SLAPP statute does not apply in a federal court diversity case, is beginning to have real-world consequences for litigants in the District of Columbia.  Since the April 2015 decision, at least two libel cases have been filed in DC federal court.  In both cases, the defendants are not able to move under the DC anti-SLAPP statute.  And for defendants sued in DC Superior Court – who are able to remove the case to federal court because of diversity jurisdiction – the Abbas decision leaves them with a difficult decision. Since the …

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“The Waiting Is the Hardest Part”

As we approach the fourth anniversary of the date the DC anti-SLAPP statute became effective, parties in several high-profile cases know exactly what Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers meant when they sang that “the waiting is the hardest part.”  As I write, they wait for decisions in cases that have the potential to significantly – and materially – alter the DC legal landscape. 

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Reflections on the Abbas v. Foreign Policy Group Argument

I attended the Abbas v. Foreign Policy Group argument at the DC Circuit last week. (You can listen to the argument here).  Here are my impressions. I agree with Politico that it seems unlikely that the Circuit will reverse the district court’s dismissal of the complaint as none of the three members of the panel quarreled with the district court’s reasoning.  Rather, the central question in the appeal now appears to be whether the DC Circuit needs to conclusively decide whether the DC anti-SLAPP statute applies in federal court (the “Erie” issue) or whether it could sidestep that issue and …

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Abbas v. Foreign Policy Group DC Circuit Panel

The DC Circuit has announced that the Abbas v. Foreign Policy Group appeal will be heard on October 20, 2014 before Circuit Judges Kavanaugh, Srinivasan, and Senior Circuit Judge Edwards. For the background facts giving rise to the case, the proceedings in the district court and the issues on appeal, see my posts here, here, here, here, and here.  For now, however, I thought I would take a quick look at prior defamation/libel/First Amendment decisions involving these judges.

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Evidence That Defending a Libel Suit = Big Dollars

When it enacted the DC anti-SLAPP Act, the DC Council recognized that SLAPPs “have been increasingly utilized over the past two decades as a means to muzzle speech or efforts to petition the government on issues of public interest.” The Council explained that “the goal of the litigation is not to win the lawsuit but punish the opponent and intimidate them into silence” because “defendants of a SLAPP must dedicate a substantial amount of money, time and legal resources.” As we pass the three-year anniversary of the effective date of the DC anti-SLAPP Act, we now have a more precise …

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Three Takeaways from the DC Circuit’s Farah v. Esquire Decision

The DC Circuit’s decision in Farah v. Esquire Magazine turned out to be a dud from an anti-SLAPP perspective.  The court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Farah’s Complaint, but did so under Rule 12(b)(6), thus mooting any consideration of arguments made under the DC anti-SLAPP act. The opinion is not a great surprise.  In its brief to the DC Circuit, Esquire suggested that, because the Complaint was also dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6), the district court’s decision could be affirmed on this alternative basis.  And the questions at oral argument (link here) did not focus on the anti-SLAPP act. Nevertheless, …

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