The Hill: Yelp seeks DC clout after rapid rise

Jan 08, 14

…The website is also lobbying for the creation of a federal law restricting strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP). An anti-SLAPP law would limit burdensome and harassing lawsuits, supporters say.

“SLAPP filers don’t go to court to seek justice, but instead, to silence, intimidate, and harass those who disagree with them. SLAPPs are effective because even a meritless lawsuit can take years and many thousands of dollars to defend,” Evan Mascagni, legislative assistant with the California-based Public Participation Project, wrote in an email.

“Federal anti-SLAPP legislation would allow providers of interactive computer services like Yelp to get SLAPPs dismissed quickly and relatively easily, and get an order requiring the plaintiff to pay their attorney’s fees.”

So far, 28 states and the District of Columbia have enacted anti-SLAPP legislation on their own, but the Public Participation Project is working to get a national bill introduced in this session of Congress, Mascagni said.

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