Very Few Motions Offer Quick Relief Like An Anti-SLAPP Motion Can For Exercising Your Right to Speak.
Few Motions can offer as quick relief from the pain of litigation as an Anti-SLAPP Motion can. If you are sued for exercising your right to speak, you have an powerful tool to stop the lawsuit within a little over a month of filing, and with all your attorneys fees paid for by the Plaintiff who sued you.
What is An Anti-SLAPP?
Putting it simply, an Anti-SLAPP lawsuit is a lawsuit filed against you or your company for saying something whether orally or in writing. Plaintiff's lawsuit against you or your company is meant to force you to stop talking about them or punish you for doing so, using the expense of litigation to harm you or your company. In California that can be a big mistake for a Plaintiff, because the legislature has given Defendants like you a powerful tool to stop such bullying lawsuits.
In California, the legislature created the Anti-SLAPP statute (CCP §425.16) due to "a disturbing increase in lawsuits brought primarily to chill the valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition for the redress of grievances."
An Anti-SLAPP Motion is a powerful tool that allows a defendant who has been unfairly sued for exercising 1st Amendment Rights, such as for posting something in writing, saying something orally, reporting something to a government agency, or taking some sort of legal action, to have the other side's lawsuit dismissed quickly and without trial. For example, such a Motion can be filed to neutralize lawsuits for defamation and even against restraining orders. Once your Motion is filed, the case is essentially otherwise frozen, so the other side cannot harass you with costly "discovery" that allows them to pry into your life or that of your business in the hopes of intimidating you. The Motion, however, must be filed within 60 days of the filing of a Complaint against you, and the Court is generally required to decide whether to dismiss the case against you within 30 days of that filing. If the Motion is granted, the case is over before it began.
In addition, a successful Defendant is entitled to have their attorneys fees and costs of the lawsuit paid for by the losing Plaintiff (including in the trial court, and if defendant files an appeal). In several recent Los Angeles cases, the Trial Court granted the Anti-SLAPP and also awarded over $100,000 in attorneys fees, and in some cases with multiple defendants of about $200,000. This is a powerful Motion that punishes a Plaintiff who is abusing lawsuits and free speech rights. It, however, is very specialized motion that requires experience, great research and drafting skills, and smart lawyering.
If you or your business has been sued for something you wrote (in an email or document), posted online, orally spoke to someone, or legal actions you took (like reporting something to a government agency, filing a lawsuit, or in a pre-litigation letter), you need to act fast to protect your rights, because you only have a small window of opportunity to draft and file an Anti-SLAPP Motion and end the case.
The attorneys of Makovoz Law Group have won Anti-SLAPP motions, and can help you.