Navigating the Perils of Anti-SLAPP Law
California maintains robust protection against so-called “SLAPP” suits, which stands for “Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation.” Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16 was enacted by the state legislature in 1992 to protect defendants against unmeritorious lawsuits primarily brought to chill their exercise of free speech in connection with issues of public interest. This “anti-SLAPP” statute allows for a special motion to strike that freezes discovery, immediately puts the plaintiff to his or her proof, throws out the case in the absence of such proof, and awards the prevailing defendant with attorney fees and costs in all but the rarest of circumstances. Originally intended as a tool for the underdog whose rights were being threatened by well-funded adversaries, the anti-SLAPP statute has slowly morphed into a powerful weapon for the very monied interests whose abuses it was supposed to curb. These interests now often abuse anti-SLAPP laws to bully victims of defamation, invasion of privacy, misappropriation of likeness, and other state law violations, thereby deterring them from seeking justice.
At Johnson & Johnson, LLP, we have extensive experience handling both sides of anti-SLAPP disputes. We aggressively analyze our client’s cases and tailor them to avoid inviting frivolous and time-wasting anti-SLAPP motions, thereby saving clients years of protracted litigation and hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary legal fees. Where an anti-SLAPP motion cannot be avoided or is otherwise warranted, our attorneys can be relied upon to present a deeply compelling case for or against the statute’s application, using a combination of surgical merits briefing and a thorough understanding of the anti-SLAPP vehicle’s strengths and weaknesses. We have obtained published decisions from the appellate courts of California affirming our client’s rights under the anti-SLAPP statute, and our attorneys take pride in consistently refining our anti-SLAPP litigation strategies as new precedents are handed down and the law continues to evolve.
On The Cutting Edge of Free Speech Litigation
For an entertainment litigator, understanding anti-SLAPP law is not a luxury, but a necessity. Even the most straightforward case brought under California law can be thrown into disarray by an anti-SLAPP motion the plaintiff failed to see coming, and our attorneys are frequently sought out to clean up the messes of other firms who failed to take prophylactic measures for or against application of the anti-SLAPP statute. This requires a precise understanding of both what the anti-SLAPP statute targets and how cases can be pleaded to ensure or prevent successful motions to strike brought thereunder. Our attorneys are equally capable of bringing and defending against anti-SLAPP motions on behalf of clients both in and out of the entertainment industry, with many high-profile successes to our name.
Simply put, if you find yourself embroiled in a legal dispute that even touches on public speech, you need a strong advocate well-versed in anti-SLAPP law to ensure your litigation strategy is not undermined by this highly complex and ever-evolving area of law. Our lawyers remain on the cutting edge of anti-SLAPP jurisprudence, keeping up with each new decision that reshapes the statute’s impact and not-infrequently obtaining such decisions for the benefit of our very own clients. Whether you are at the pre-trial/demand letter phase, fielding an anti-SLAPP motion at the trial court, or defending/attacking an anti-SLAPP decision on appeal, our attorneys can provide critical advice on how best to use the anti-SLAPP statute to your advantage and strategically argue your case in light of that advice.
Contact Us To Analyze Your Matter
Our experienced litigation team has a deep understanding of how anti-SLAPP law can impact and steer your case. Call our Beverly Hills offices at (310) 975-1080 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.