Tag Archives: Lehan

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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Superior Court Judge Grants District of Columbia’s anti-SLAPP Motion against Former Employee

Last week, another DC Superior Court judge granted an anti-SLAPP motion.  This motion was filed by the District of Columbia in response to a defamation/related torts lawsuit brought by a former employee: Eric Payne.  (For prior discussions on this suit, see this post discussing the DC opening brief; this post discussing Payne’s opposition brief; and this post discussing DC’s reply brief).  You can also find news stories about the lawsuit here and here, and an editorial that is critical of DC’s anti-SLAPP motion here). This is the second anti-SLAPP motion that has been granted by a DC Superior Court judge, …

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Another anti-SLAPP Motion Filed In Response to Former DC Official’s Defamation Suit

At the same time as former DC employee Eric Payne is opposing an anti-SLAPP motion filed by the District of Columbia, another former high-ranking employee of the District of Columbia has also been hit with an anti-SLAPP motion in response to her defamation suit. On November 21, 2012, Jennifer Campbell, the former District of Columbia Chief Operating Officer for the Department of Health Care Finance, filed suit against three companies that she alleged made defamatory statements about her, which she alleges directly led to her termination by the District of Columbia. 

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Lanny Davis Drops High-Profile Appeal of Denial of Anti-SLAPP Motion

With apologies to Queen, another anti-SLAPP suit has bitten the dust.  Unlike the Lehan v. Fox Television Stations case, in which the defendants’ anti-SLAPP motion was granted, however, the high-profile squabble between 3M and Lanny Davis has ended because of a settlement. 

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Plaintiff in Dean v. NBC Case Engages in Blatant Forum Shopping

The Dean v. NBC Universal case took an odd turn today when the plaintiff filed a notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice. According to the filing, “[t]he Complaint has been refiled in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia due to the Court’s recent decision in 3M v. Boulter, No. 11-cv-1527 (RLW).” The MSNBC defendants (Rachel Maddow, NBC and MSNBC) had previously moved to dismiss the suit, either because it failed to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) or under the DC anti-SLAPP statute. The plaintiffs had opposed that motion by attacking the constitutionality of the statute and …

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First Federal Court Opinion Denying Anti-SLAPP Motion Issued in 3M v. Boulter

Judge Wilkins, presiding over the 3M v. Boulter case, today became the first federal court judge to issue an opinion on the applicability of the anti-SLAPP statute in federal court. Previously, Judge King of the Superior Court had granted an anti-SLAPP motion in Lehan v. Fox and incorporated oral rulings into his order, and federal court Judge Leon denied an anti-SLAPP motion in Sherrod v. Breitbart, but without an opinion. Judge Wilkins’ 55-page opinion denies the anti-SLAPP motions filed by the defendants, but grants their Rule 12(b)(6) motions in part and dismisses some of the claims in the complaint for …

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DC Superior Court Grants Anti-SLAPP Motion Filed by Fox Television Against Lehan Plaintiff

The DC Superior Court today granted an anti-SLAPP motion made by the defendants in Lehan v. Fox. This is the first successful anti-SLAPP motion since the statute became effective earlier this year. (Although the Order appears to have been signed on November 30, it was filed today). While the Court did not issue an opinion, it made oral findings and conclusions, which it incorporated into its Order. Essentially, the Court held that the statute applied to the pending case because, as the defendants had argued in their reply brief, the “burden of proof on the plaintiff does not change [with …

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Both Parties Submit Supplemental Briefs in Lehan v. Fox on Issue of Retroactivity

Both the plaintiff and the defendants in the Lehan v. Fox case today filed the supplemental briefs ordered by the Court last month. As I suspected then, the briefs address the “retroactivity” issue, addressing whether the statute is substantive or procedural in nature. The plaintiff’s supplemental brief first argues that this suit is not a quintessential SLAPP suit because it was not filed to silence speech, but for damages suffered as a result of a false and defamatory news story. Then turning to the issue requested by the Court, it argues that “the Anti-SLAPP Act is substantive in nature and should not …

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DC Superior Court Orders Additional Briefing in Lehan v. Fox

According to a docket entry in the Lehan v. Fox case, at a scheduling conference today, the Court ordered the parties to “file Memorandum(s) of Law (regarding the issue discussed in open court on 9/30/11) . . . by 10/21/11.” The same docket entry provides that a motion hearing is set for November 17, 2011. The docket entry does not explain what issue the parties are to brief for the Court. The defendants’ opening brief, plaintiff’s opposition, and defendants’ reply have largely concentrated on the “retroactivity” issue, with the defendants arguing that the statute does not change the substantive requirements for …

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Dan Snyder Dismisses Suit Against City Paper

Dan Snyder today agreed to dismiss his lawsuit against the City Paper and its reporter, Dave McKenna, with prejudice (this means that the case is over and Snyder cannot file suit again on these allegations). In the stipulation of dismissal, the defendants agree “that they shall bear their own fees and costs in connection with this action.” Of course, under the anti-SLAPP statute, if the party filing a special motion to dismiss prevails, the court may award the costs of litigation, including reasonable attorney fees.  DC Code 16-5504(a).

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