How California’s Anti-SLAPP Statute Can Impact Your Lawsuit
Nov. 2, 2022
The right to speech is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In fact, freedom of speech is a fundamental element of democracy. Unfortunately, SLAPPs, which stand for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, has become a commonly used tool to intimidate, harass, and silence criticism and target certain individuals and businesses.
Fortunately, there is a way to counter SLAPPs thanks to California’s anti-SLAPP statute. If you want to understand how the anti-SLAPP law works and how it can impact your lawsuit, it is essential to speak with a trusted and knowledgeable lawyer.
Our litigation attorneys at Leet Law understand the extent of damage that can be done by SLAPP suits. That is why we help individuals and businesses counter SLAPP suits and navigate the legal nuances surrounding the anti-SLAPP statute. With an office in San Jose, California, we represent individuals and businesses throughout the Bay Area, including Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Oakland.
Understanding Anti-SLAPP Laws
Unfortunately, SLAPPs have become very common in recent years. Typically, those who file SLAPP suits have one goal in mind: to silence and/or harass an individual or business by forcing them to defend themselves against baseless allegations and spend significant amounts of money on legal costs and attorney’s fees.
Those who file SLAPPs are not trying to seek justice. Rather, they are trying to intimidate individuals who criticize or disagree with them. Fortunately, there is an effective way to counter SLAPPs thanks to California’s state legislation. California adopted an anti-SLAPP statute that provides a remedy to those meritless lawsuits.
Anti-SLAPP laws in California are designed to prevent people from using the legal system to intimidate or punish those who exercise their First Amendment rights. For example, a journalist can use California’s anti-SLAPP statute to protect themselves from a frivolous defamation lawsuit brought by the target of their investigative story.
What Is California’s Anti-SLAPP Law?
California’s anti-SLAPP law allows individuals and businesses to counter SLAPP suits against them. Under the statute, you can file a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against you for exercising your right of free speech or petition under the U.S. Constitution in connection with an issue of public interest. After the motion is filed, the court will review the lawsuit against you and either allow the plaintiff to proceed with their case or dismiss the lawsuit and award you legal costs and attorney’s fees.
However, make sure that your statement or activity is covered by the anti-SLAPP law before filing a motion to dismiss a meritless lawsuit against you or your business. California’s anti-SLAPP law covers the following:
Oral and written statements made before official proceedings authorized by law, including judicial, executive, or legislative proceedings;
Oral and written statements made about an issue that is being considered or reviewed by a judicial, executive, or legislative body;
Oral and written statements made about an issue of public interest on a public forum or in a place open to the public; and
Other activities in the furtherance of exercising your right to free speech or petition in connection with matters of public concern.
It can be confusing to determine whether or not you can use California’s anti-SLAPP lawsuit to protect yourself from meritless lawsuits filed against you or your business. That is why it is vital to consult with a skilled business litigation attorney to examine the facts of your case and advise you on your best course of action.
How Can the Anti-SLAPP Statute Affect Your Lawsuit?
Anti-SLAPP laws in California were put in place to give defendants a remedy to dismiss lawsuits filed against them for exercising their constitutional rights. When used properly, the anti-SLAPP statute can have a major impact on a SLAPP suit filed against you. In fact, if you can successfully dismiss a lawsuit by filing a motion under the anti-SLAPP law, you may be reimbursed for your legal costs and attorney’s fees. In some cases, courts may even award punitive damages to punish the plaintiff for filing a SLAPP lawsuit.
However, using California’s anti-SLAPP statute involves a number of complexities. Evidentiary issues in such cases can make the process of dismissing a meritless lawsuit even more confusing. That is why you need to contact a strategic attorney to help you use anti-SLAPP statutes properly.
Look to a Trusted Lawyer For Help
At Leet Law, our trusted and results-driven attorneys provide comprehensive guidance to clients who need assistance in countering SLAPP suits using California’s anti-SLAPP statute. Reach out to our office in San Jose, California, so we can explain the legal nuances of the anti-SLAPP law and whether you can use the statute to dismiss a frivolous lawsuit filed against you or your business. Call us today for proper guidance. We proudly serve clients throughout the Bay Area, including Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Oakland, California.