Newspaper Editor That Sued Readers Shows Need For Federal Anti-SLAPP Law

Nov 08, 13

From the Huffington Post and commentary from Popehat:

A Circuit Court judge in Ionia, Mich. threw out a lawsuit filed by a newspaper editor against six of her readers after they complained about one of her stories.

Michigan doesn’t have an anti-SLAPP statute. Anti-SLAPP statutes generally make it mandatory for the court to award fees and costs to the prevailing defendant. In states without anti-SLAPP statutes, judges are generally reluctant to sanction plaintiffs and their lawyers for censorious lawsuits. That may be from ingrained deference to lawyers, or from a judicial tendency to “split the baby” by granting a motion to dismiss but denying sanctions. This kind of case — in which a patently frivolous lawsuit can cost citizens tens of thousands of dollars without ready recourse — highlights the need for robust anti-SLAPP statutes in every state.

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