What is an Anti-SLAPP Motion?

Contrary to the name, an anti-SLAPP motion is not a motion that has anything to do with slapping anyone.  SLAPP is an acronym for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.  An anti-SLAPP motion is a motion to strike lawsuits brought “primarily to chill the valid exercise of constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition for the redress of grievances.” (C.C.P. § 425.16.)

This special motion to strike applies to any cause of action arising from an act in furtherance of a person’s free speech, or petition rights, or both under either the United States or California Constitutions.  (C.C.P. § 425.16(b)(1)(e).)  The general idea behind the anti-SLAPP statute is that you have the right not to be sued because you exercised your constitutional right to say what you think or enforce your rights by filing a lawsuit.

An anti-SLAPP motion can be filed as a first salvo by a defendant in litigation, i.e. prior to an answer or demurrer, and has the following effects:

(1) prevents the entry of default;

(2) results in a stay of discovery related to any causes of action that are the subject of the motion pending a ruling on the same; and

(3) may incentivize early settlement by exposing the plaintiff to a fee award if the motion is granted.

Of course, you cannot always file an anti-SLAPP motion to every complaint. It will only be appropriate where a plaintiff is suing you for based on your actions arising from your exercise of free speech or your right to petition.  For example, if someone sues you for expressing your opinion that their product is terrible or if you are sued for filing suit against someone else.  Generally such lawsuits are frivolous at their face, and that is why the anti-SLAPP is there to help dispose of such suits quickly and efficiently.

If you have been sued and believe the lawsuit is frivolous and is based on your exercise of your right to free speech or right to petition the court for the redress of grievances, please call Schorr Law, APC to inquire about a free consultation to further discuss your legal options. You an use our Contact Form, send us an email at inf@schorr-law.com, or give us a call at (310) 954-1877.

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