Tag Archives: burke
In November 2014, this intrepid blogger trooped down to the DC Court of Appeals to watch the Mann v. National Review oral argument. In my post, I wrote that the panel was likely to conclude that the denial of an anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss was immediately appealable (having already held, in Burke v. Doe I, that the denial of a special motion to quash under the DC anti-SLAPP statute was immediately appealable), and that the tougher question would be how to apply the “likely to succeed” standard at the motion stage.
The DC anti-SLAPP statute has been invoked in a Superior Court lawsuit in which plaintiffs arguing that students need to be free from disruptions in the school environment are facing off against anti-abortion protestors.
DC’s Highest Court Holds Successful Anti-SLAPP Movant Is “Presumptively” Entitled to Attorneys’ Fees
Here are my three takeaways from yesterday’s DC Court of Appeals’ decision, holding that a successful movant under the DC anti-SLAPP statute “is entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees in the ordinary course – i.e., presumptively – unless special circumstances in the case make a fee award unjust,” and reversing a Superior Court decision which refused to award fees to a successful movant. (You can read my prior blog post on this appeal here).
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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The first time Burke v. Doe was before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, it established new law, with the Court establishing that the denial of a special motion to dismiss was immediately appealable. Burke II is now before the Court, and also has the potential to be precedent setting. Here’s why.
There is an interesting anti-SLAPP case that has now reached the DC Court of Appeals. Here is the background. Susan Burke is a DC lawyer, best known for representing plaintiffs in suits against the U.S. military or federal government contractors. In January 2012, an editor allegedly edited Ms. Burke’s Wikipedia entry to suggest that a DC federal judge had criticized a case she brought against the company then named Blackwater. In fact, Ms. Burke was not involved in the case referenced by the Wikipedia editor, and was instead counsel in a separate case involving the same defendant.