The EFF has been advocating for the rights of online speakers for over 30 years. A strong federal law against SLAPP will bring us closer to the vision of an Internet that allows anyone to speak out and organize for change, especially if they speak out against those with more power and resources. Anti-SLAPP laws strengthen the rights of all. We hope that Congress will soon pass the SLAPP Protection Act. Similarly, in 2016, a Minnesota appeals court ruled the state`s anti-SLAPP law unconstitutional, holding that the law « deprives the non-mobile party of the right to a jury trial by requiring a court to make pre-trial factual findings to determine whether the moving party is exempt from liability. » Mobile diagnostic imaging versus Hooten, 889 N.W.2d 27, 35 (Minn. Ct. App. 2016). The following year, the Minnesota Supreme Court agreed, ruling that the state`s anti-SLAPP law is unconstitutional because it requires a district court to make a pre-trial statement of fact that violates the plaintiff`s right to a jury trial under the Minnesota Constitution.
Leiendecker v. Asian Women United of Minn., 895 N.W.2d 623, 637–38 (Minn. 2017). These decisions raise concerns that courts in other states that recognize a plaintiff`s right to a jury trial could do the same. SLAPP lawsuits in federal courts are increasingly being used to target activists and online critics. Here are some recent examples: Now, a bill has been introduced that would make real progress in ending SLAPPs in federal courts. The SLAPP Protection Act will provide strong protection for almost all speakers discussing matters of public interest. The Slapp Protection Act also creates a lawsuit that allows most slapp victims in federal courts to have their legal fees paid by the people who file the SLAPP lawsuits. (Here`s our blog post and letter in support of the latest anti-SLAPP law, which was introduced more than seven years ago.) In 2019, anonymous Twitter accounts were sued by Rep. Devin Nunes, a congressman who represented parts of Central California. Nunes used lawsuits to expose and punish two Twitter users who used the pseudonyms @DevinNunesMom and @DevinCow to criticize his actions as politicians. Nunes filed the lawsuit in a state court in Henrico County, Virginia.
The location had little connection to the case, but the lack of anti-SLAPP legislation in Virginia attracted many plaintiffs there. Recently, however, the Second Circuit ruled that California`s anti-SLAPP law was not enforceable in federal court. See Liberty v. Reid, 966 F.3d 79, 87-88 (2d Cir. 2020). There, the court ruled that California`s anti-SLAPP law was not enforceable in federal court because it was contrary to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12 and 56. According to the Second Circuit, the question federal courts must answer when deciding whether state anti-SLAPP laws apply in federal courts is « whether a federal rule of civil procedure answers the same question as the [special strike request]. » Id. at 87 (cited Abbas v.
Foreign Policy Grp., LLC, 783 F.3d 1328, 1333 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (amendment in original)). If so, the federal rule applies unless it violates the Enabling Rules Act. Amid all this confusion at the federal level, the U.S. Supreme Court surprisingly refused to interfere in the controversy. On the contrary, the Supreme Court has consistently refused to hear cases involving the state`s anti-SLAPP laws. See, for example, Yagman v.
Edmondson, 723 Fed. App`x 463 (9th Cir. 2018), cert. denied, 139 p. Ct. 823 (2019); Planned Parenthood Fed`n by Am., Inc. v. Ctr. for Med.
Progress, 897 F.3d 1224 (9th Cir. 2018), certificate refused, 139 p. Ct. 1446 (2019). As recently as February 2021, the Supreme Court again refused to address the issue and refused to consider it in Clifford v. Trump, who described the conflict between Ninth Circuit and Fifth Circuit decisions over the applicability of Texas` anti-SLAPP law in federal diversity actions. It is therefore to be expected that federal courts will continue to make conflicting decisions on this issue, which will lead to other shopping forums as state lawmakers continue to pass broader anti-SLAPP legislation, resulting in more anti-SLAPP requests in federal diversity cases. Unfortunately, this caveat is not even close to being accurate. Few litigants would ever accuse the federal judiciary of acting « quickly » to decide their case,25See, for example, Benjamin Weiser, Judge`s Decisions Are Conputuously Late, N.Y. Times (December 6, 2004), www.nytimes.com/2004/12/06/nyregion/judges-decisions-are-conspicuously-late.html; Mike Masnick, Gavin McInnes files a ridiculously stupid defamation lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center, Techdirt (5. February 2019), www.techdirt.com/articles/20190204/23555241529/gavin-mcinnes-files-laughably-silly-defamation-lawsuit-against-southern-poverty-law-center.shtml (at the time of publication, this SLAPP lawsuit was still ongoing and the defendant`s motion to dismiss had been pending for fourteen months).
whose resolution regularly takes years and, in the meantime, almost always involves a costly, intrusive and time-consuming discovery.26If no postponement is requested and granted, the exchange of an early discovery in any civil case filed in federal court is of course mandatory. See Fed. R. Civ. p. 26(a)(1). In addition, federal district courts generally hate to suspend discovery even when a previously dispositive motion to dismiss is pending, prioritizing their own efficiency over the burden that discovery imposes on defendants facing baseless claims. See, for example, Jackson v. Denver Water Vol., No. 08-CV-01984-MSK-MEH, 2008 WL 5233787, at *1 (D.
Colo. Dec. 15, 2008) (« In general, the policy in this district is not to suspend discovery until a decision on dismissal requests has been made. »); Lampo Grp. v Paffrath, 3:18-cv-01402, 2019 WL 3305143 (M.D. Tenn. 2019) (Order, ECF No. 71) (« The standard practices and procedures of this court favour a suspension of discovery while awaiting disposition or other applications. »); Gookins vs. Cty. Materials Corp., No.
1:19-CV-00867-JPH-MJD, 2019 WL 3282088, at *1 (S.D. Ind. 18. 2019) (« Filing a motion to dismiss does not automatically suspend discovery, and the court is not required to grant a request for a stay of disclosure until a decision has been rendered on a motion to dismiss. »); Grey c.