SLAPP shtick

For the record, here’s a workable definition of SLAPP:

A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.

Our Exhibit A is a SLAPP that failed:

Here’s the news:

“A Los Angeles judge threw out a lawsuit against TheWrap News on Wednesday, ruling that an article about movie financier Elisabeth Thieriot was both accurate and ‘took pains’ in reporting on a production dispute with her co-producer. Judge Barbara M. Scheper of Los Angeles Superior Court sided with the news organization in granting an anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss Thieriot’s complaint on the grounds that it had no probability of success on its merits.”

Exhibit B, inevitably, is a SLAPP against a blog publishing Exhibit A.

Inasmuch as Judge Scheper’s ruling is rather easily verified by inspection — please note that the phrase “plaintiff has no probability of success on the merits” is right there on page 1 — I suspect that the second suit will be every bit as successful as the first, and that the Streisand effect is already manifesting itself.

Notes Bill Quick, conceivably the subject of an Exhibit C should this lesson continue to go unlearned by counsel for the plaintiff:

This almost never ends well for those who think lawyerly threats are the sovereign cure for blog-caused discomfort.

See also the First Rule of Holes.


  1. Michael Bates »

    6 October 2012 · 10:19 pm

    California has a very strong anti-SLAPP statute that provides for a motion early in the process to dismiss for no probability of success on the merits, before the plaintiff can drag the target through discovery and depositions for months and years. An attempt was made to pass a similar law in Oklahoma a few years ago, but it failed to make it through the legislature.

  2. CGHill »

    6 October 2012 · 10:46 pm

    I remember that you’d written on that. The problem with our own anti-SLAPP statute is apparently that it doesn’t provide that mechanism to move for such a dismissal. Still, it’s probably better than nothing.

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