Appeals Court: D.C. Anti-SLAPP Law’s Provision Not Available in Federal Court

A federal appellate court has made an important ruling regarding the D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act. On Friday, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decided Abbas v. Foreign Policy. While dismissing a defamation case against the Defendant, the Court also held that federal courts sitting in diversity jurisdiction may not apply the Anti-SLAPP Act’s special motion to dismiss provision. The Court reasoned that the provision conflicts with federal procedural rules and therefore does not apply in federal court.

The D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act helps protect those threatened with litigation arising out an “act in furtherance of the right of advocacy on issues of public interest.” It is defined to combat “SLAPPs” – Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. The law is most commonly associated with defamation lawsuits.

The Court’s ruling considerably impacts the landscape of defamation litigation in the District of Columbia. Some questions remain open – for instance, whether the Act’s special motion to quash provisions can still apply in federal court.

Have you or your organization been threatened with a defamation lawsuit? Would you like to reduce the risk of such lawsuits and ensure compliance with defamation and media laws? Ward & Ward PLLC has demonstrated success in these areas and can assist you. Call or email for a consultation with one of our attorneys.

Ward & Ward wins big for a highly respected NGO

Ward & Ward PLLC recently obtained a comprehensive victory for a highly respected NGO. Ward & Ward successfully defended C4ADS from claims for defamation and punitive damages brought by Kaalbye Shipping International. The high-profile lawsuit, characterized as a “David versus Goliath battle,” attracted significant attention, including articles in Foreign PolicyVocativ, and elsewhere.

In this particular battle, David prevailed. Ward & Ward attorneys Daniel Ward and Taimur Rabbani initially filed a declaratory judgment action on behalf of C4ADS in response to Kaalbye’s repeated threats of litigation.  Kaalbye responded by filing multiple defamation counterclaims against C4ADS.  C4ADS filed a Special Motion to Dismiss Kaalbye’s defamation counterclaims. If granted, a Special Motion to Dismiss under the D.C. Anti-SLAPP act provides for dismissal with prejudice of the targeted defamation claims, and the award of attorney’s fees and costs. In a recent Opinion, Judge Thomas Motley granted C4ADS’ Special Motion to Dismiss, dismissing with prejudice all claims brought by Kaalbye Shipping against C4ADS.

Have you or your organization been threatened with a defamation lawsuit? Would you like to create safeguards to minimize the risks of such a lawsuit? From pre-publication review through trial, the lawyers at Ward & Ward have considerable experience representing media, non-profit, and commercial clients with various First Amendment issues. Call or email Ward & Ward PLLC for a consultation with one of our attorneys.