An intro to Defamation Defense and Anti-SLAPP

It’s important for victims to know the risks of speaking out. It’s also important for them to know that they don’t have to fight for justice alone.

Anti-SLAPPs can be a useful tool to dismiss lawsuits against survivors who have spoken out and been sued.

SLAPPs

SLAPPs (strategic lawsuits against public participation) can be a tool for intimidating and silencing criticism through legal proceedings. Anti-SLAPP laws exist to provide a remedy to SLAPP lawsuits and prevent people from using courts/ threats of a defamation lawsuit to intimidate people out of exercising their rights.

30 states have “anti-SLAPP” laws that protect defendants from punitive defamation suits by providing a mechanism to stop them proceeding.

Defamation Defense

If you’ve been sued, we can defend you if you are in NY, NJ, CA, or CT.  Sometimes we will also work in other states with local co-counsel.  About 30 states now have Anti-SLAPP statutes which offers an accelerated way to get speech-based lawsuits dismissed and has the added punch of transferring legal fees and costs of litigation from the defendant (you) to the plaintiff if we succeed in getting it dismissed.

 

Here is a short, selected round-up of the basics of defamation laws, and whether the state has an Anti-SLAPP statute. These are the states in which we are admitted, but we can help clients nationally:

 

State: New York

Elements:

-A false statement about the plaintiff.

-Published to a third party without authorization or privilege.

-With fault amounting to at least negligence.

-The statement either constitutes defamation per se or caused special damages.

Statute of Limitations: One year.

Anti-SLAPP: Yes.

 

State: California

Elements:

-The intentional publication of a statement of fact which is false, defamatory, unprivileged.

-Damages the person defamed.

Statute of Limitations: One year.

Anti-SLAPP: Yes.

 

State: New Jersey

Elements:

-A false statement about a plaintiff.

-The unprivileged communication of that statement to a third party.

-Fault of publisher amounting at least to negligence.

-Damages the person defamed.

Statute of Limitations: One year.

Anti-SLAPP: None

 

State: Connecticut

Elements:

-A false statement.

-The defamatory statement identified the plaintiff.

-The defamatory statement was published or communicated to a third person/party.

-Plaintiff’s reputation suffered damages resulting from the statement.

Statute of Limitations: Two years

Anti-SLAPP: Yes.

 

Remember: the law varies widely from state-to-state so specific advice from a qualified and experienced attorney is important to understand what applies to your unique situation.

“We’re seeing that victims with something to say are getting savvier about how to discuss their abuse while protecting themselves from litigation. We’re getting more cases where survivors of assault and abuse come to us for legal advice before sharing their stories.” – Carrie Goldberg

 

How we can help:

  • Pre-publication risk assessments: For people interested in getting their story out there, we can read what you want to publish – your article, letter, book, screenplay, tweet, whatever – and advise you on the risks of defamation in your particular case with your particular offender.  We all know that truth is a 100% affirmative defense in defamation lawsuits, however being truthful does not always prevent a lawsuit. 
  • Cease and Desist:  If you got a letter accusing you of defamation, now is a key time to hire a lawyer to assess if it’s a bluff or a legitimate precursor to a lawsuit.  We can explore options to deter litigation. But even if you are like some of our clients who say bring it on to litigation, we have an important job to get you prepared for what’s to come.  
  • Negotiations:  If something bad has happened to you, you have the right to talk about it. Some offenders will pay you a lot of money not to sue them and/or not to speak about it.  At this firm, we believe everybody has the right to decide whether to accept money in exchange for not suing or publishing the truth.  We’ve gotten two seven figure settlements and many millions combined in six figure settlements for clients. It is our policy to negotiate agreements so that our client can still speak to his or her therapist about what happened and can without revealing personally identifiable information about the offender, speak publicly about their experience. 
  • Defamation defense:  If you’ve been sued, we can defend you if you are in NY, NJ, CA, or CT.  Sometimes we will also work in other states with local co-counsel.  About 30 states now have Anti-SLAPP statutes which offers an accelerated way to get speech-based lawsuits dismissed and has the added punch of transferring legal fees and costs of litigation from the defendant (you) to the plaintiff if we succeed in getting it dismissed. 
  • Offense: If you’re being defamed or your privacy is being invaded, we of course go on the other side and send out the cease and desists and file defamation lawsuits. 
     

    To learn more about your legal options call 646-666-8908 or get in touch here

 

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