D.C. court grants first dismissal under new anti-SLAPP law
“A District of Columbia judge ordered the first dismissal under the jurisdiction’s new anti-SLAPP law, finding at the start of a defamation lawsuit that a firefighter failed to show a “likelihood of success” in challenging a television broadcast about his high levels of overtime earnings.
Judge Rufus G. King III of the D.C. Superior Court applied the new anti-SLAPP statute – which stands for “strategic lawsuits against public participation” – retroactively and granted the dismissal motion brought by Fox Television station WTTG. Judge King held that fire department Lt. Richard Lehan failed to meet his burden to show the station was at fault or that he suffered any damages.
The lawsuit arose out of WTTG’s January 2011 report on budget overruns in the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Service. While examining the District’s overtime budget, a committee of the D.C. Council received a report that listed Lt. Lehan as the service’s largest overtime earner in fiscal 2008 and in the top 10 largest in fiscal 2009 and 2010.”
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