Friday, May 22, 2015
Federal anti-SLAPP bill would let state cases move to federal court for pre-emptive dismissal
Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that an Anti-SLAPP bill has been introduced in the House, by a bipartisan group. The story by Sofia Cope is here. It will be called the “Speak Free Act of 2015” as introduced by Blake Farenthold (R-TX) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA), link here.
One of the most important provisions would allow defendants in purported SLAPP suits in states without SLAPP laws or weak SLAPP laws to federal court, where judges would follow certain guidelines of reasonableness in dismissing cases. These standards include “actual malice” in speech, as well as Section 230, and the protection of anonymous speakers. It would be an interesting question if people posting negative (and sometimes anonymous) reviews on Yelp! And Angie’s List could have cases dismissed by a federal court this way. It sounds as if it would.
Above is some more discussion of Caifornia’s law now, but this is advice to potential plaintiffs! “Be very careful!”