Twenty years ago, California enacted C.C.P. section 425.16, better known as the California anti-SLAPP statute. SLAPP is an acronym for "strategic lawsuit against public participation". The law was enacted to protect the right of petition and free speech rights. The effect of the statute is that it provides a powerful tool for defendants to get out of lawsuits at an early stage and recover attorney's fees and costs if successful. There is often little strategic disadvantage for a defendant to file an anti-SLAPP motion if the motion is applicable and the lawsuit arises out of protected free speech activity.Anti Slapp Motion Lawyer
If a Court determines that a plaintiff's lawsuit arises out of a defendant's protected free speech activity, then the burden shifts to the plaintiff to provide evidence supporting a likelihood of success at trial. This is often difficult for plaintiffs because the showing occurs at an early stage in the case before discovery and reliable evidence has been obtained.
This is a highly complicated area of the law and has been the subject of numerous California Court of Appeal as well as 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decisions. The distinction between defamation and free speech has become even more blurred with the rise of blogs, online review sites, Facebook and Twitter. At Raines Feldman LLP, we are at the cutting edge of Internet law, defamation litigation and anti-SLAPP practice. We have represented dozens of plaintiffs and defendants in anti-SLAPP motion proceedings.Filing Anti-SLAPP Motions in California
SLAPP suits have risen dramatically with increased usage and development of the internet. User generated content sites such as Yelp, Facebook and Twitter have greatly expanded the reach and impact of free speech rights. Business disputes that used to take place behind closed doors or in small, regional markets now play out for the world to see thanks to search engines like Google.
Our law firm understands the effect changing technology has had on free speech rights and, more specifically, anti-SLAPP motions. We constantly monitor the latest appellate court decisions in order to gain an edge in our trial court anti-SLAPP practice.
We are highly skilled at filing anti-SLAPP motions for businesses or individuals sued for defamation, unfair business practices and false advertising. This proactive measure puts defendants in defamation or other types of lawsuits on the offensive and may prompt the opposing party to dismiss the lawsuit. A successful anti-SLAPP motion dismisses the plaintiff's lawsuit at a very early stage, before significant expenses are incurred. In fact, the mere filing of an anti-SLAPP motion stays the case so that no costly discovery or proceedings may take place until the motion is heard. The victorious defendant on an anti-SLAPP motion is entitled to its attorney's fees and costs from the plaintiff. Our law firm has extensive experience securing our clients' best interests in this complicated area of the law.
A Court's decision on these motions is often not the end of the story. Rulings on anti-SLAPP motions are immediately appealable, and often are due to confusion by judges over the proper standards for measuring a plaintiff's prima facie case. Also, C.C.P. section 425.18 facilitates SLAPPback lawsuits against the plaintiff for malicious prosecution. The immediate appeal and attorney's fee provisions of C.C.P. section 425.16 do not apply to SLAPPback suits.
We will apply our experience in defamation law to your advantage. We handle numerous anti-SLAPP motions and appeals each year and know the law from both the plaintiff and defense perspectives. Our law firm will take every measure possible to help you recover attorney fees and costs.