Getting ‘SLAPP’d’ for getting involved — new protections considered
PPP Policy Director Evan Mascagni was recently quoted in an article about SLAPPs and the SPEAK FREE Act by Gene Policinski.
The proposed law would allow defendants to transfer lawsuits from state to federal courts, particularly valuable in 22 states that do not have an anti-SLAPP law or in those with weak protection. Farenthold said the law also will provide a means in federal court to quickly resolve a SLAPP lawsuit “before the legal fees run up.”
The combination of breadth and speed has appeal on both Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle, and to conservatives seeking “tort reform” to reduce lawsuits and liberals aiming to protect civic activists. Farenthold said he has not seen significant push-back from companies, which might have been expected to oppose the act. “Overall, I think more people in business have the view that you don’t need to worry… if you are providing good service.”
Bipartisan support encourages Evan Mascagni, policy director for the Public Participation Project, a nonprofit group supporting such legislation — who noted two earlier Congressional attempts failed to gain such backing. In an interview, Mascagni said, “The First Amendment is not a partisan issue. Americans understand the importance of free speech and petition activity in our society.”