Don’t SLAPP Me

Although it has rarely been used, Maryland has an anti-SLAPP statute. The read in part:

Md. COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS Code Ann. § 5-807  (2013)§ 5-807. SLAPP suits

(a) “SLAPP suit” defined. — In this section, “SLAPP suit” means a strategic lawsuit against public participation.

(b) Nature. — A lawsuit is a SLAPP suit if it is:

(1) Brought in bad faith against a party who has communicated with a federal, State, or local government body or the public at large to report on, comment on, rule on, challenge, oppose, or in any other way exercise rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution or Article 10, Article 13, or Article 40 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights regarding any matter within the authority of a government body or any issue of public concern;

(2) Materially related to the defendant’s communication; and

(3) Intended to inhibit or inhibits the exercise of rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution or Article 10, Article 13, or Article 40 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights.

(c) Scope of immunity. — A defendant in a SLAPP suit is not civilly liable for communicating with a federal, State, or local government body or the public at large, if the defendant, without constitutional malice, reports on, comments on, rules on, challenges, opposes, or in any other way exercises rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution or Article 10, Article 13, or Article 40 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights regarding any matter within the authority of a government body or any issue of public concern.

This law was put in place to prevent just the sort of shutupery that Brett Kimberlin is attempting in his frivolous lawsuit in both state (Kimberlin v. Walker, et al.) and federal (Kimberlin v. The Universe, et al.) courts. If anyone else were to sue me or Hogewash! for it’s coverage of issues related to Team Kimberlin or any of it’s members, he should expect that the motion to dismiss would include an anti-SLAPP claim. Note that issues related to Team Kimberlin have been placed before a government body (a U. S. District Court) by both Brett Kimberlin and Bill Schmalfeldt.

Here’s an interesting bit of SLAPP trivial. The term Streisand Effect stems from the publicity surrounding Barbara Streisand’s loss of a SLAPP suit filed against an aerial photographer. Streisand v. Adelman, (California Superior Court Case SC077257).

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