Laura Prather in Consumerist: What Are SLAPPs And Anti-SLAPPs… And Why Should You Care?


We all know the stories about big companies and well-heeled individuals filing nuisance lawsuits against whistleblowers, competitors, or other troublemakers just to shut these less-resourceful parties up. There’s a name for that sort of lawsuit, and — at least in some states — there are ways for defendants to fight back. However, even the best available remedies are far from perfect.

This sort of frivolous lawsuit is referred to as a SLAPP — a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation — which means exactly what the words imply: The plaintiff is filing the complaint with the strategic goal of preventing the defendant from expressing themselves freely.

“SLAPP suits differ from ordinary lawsuits in that they seek to dissuade one from exercising a lawful right, such as testifying at a City Council meeting, complaining to a medical board about an unfit doctor, investigating fraud in our education system, or participating in a political campaign,” explained Laura Lee Prather, a Texas attorney and board member for the Public Participation Project, to a recent Congressional subcommittee.

Excerpted from Consumerist. To read the full article, please click here

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