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Edward M. Spiro and Christopher B. Harwood Edward M. Spiro and Christopher B. Harwood

In recent years, numerous states have enacted laws to deter so-called “SLAPP” suits—i.e., strategic lawsuits against public participation. These anti-SLAPP laws provide procedural protections for individuals and entities that are sued as punishment for—and to deter them from—speaking out on public matters. The anti-SLAPP laws provide various protections to the defendants named in SLAPP suits, including in some cases (1) expedited consideration of a defendant’s motion to dismiss a SLAPP suit, and (2) a framework for evaluating a defendant’s motion to dismiss that shifts the burden to the plaintiff to demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits of its underlying claim in order to avoid dismissal. Moreover, when a SLAPP suit is dismissed, the anti-SLAPP laws typically afford the defendant the right to recover its costs and attorney fees, and sometimes compensatory and punitive damages.

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