Welcome to my first ever blog. I am a lawyer, so guess what? I will be focusing on legal issues that interest me, and hopefully a few readers as well. My practice focuses on defense litigation, copyright, trademark, music law, film law, and entertainment law in general. I am also passionate about free speech and how it is impacted by technology. I love music, history, movies, literature, art, etc., so I will probably talk about those things from time to time as well. Most important, I love funny things in the law, so expect to see strange cases and interesting turns in the massive, organic, intellectual, complex, binary “yes-no” machine we call “law.”
As my first item, I present:
ITEM: Anti-SLAPP law expanded in Washington State.
Washington’s legislature recently passed a new law designed to combat generally baseless defamation, malicious prosecution, or other claims brought against citizens engaged in communicating with a government agency, or participation in a public forum on matters of public interest, or the “valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition for the redress of grievances,” known as SLAPP suits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).
You can read the law here:
This extension of the anti-SLAPP law is a long time coming, and will be a powerful shield for free speech enthusiasts everywhere. The law allows a defendant of a baseless libel or slander suit to show in court at the start of the litigation that his or her statements are not defamatory and were made for the purpose of commenting on matters of public interest, or otherwise engaging in free speech. The best part is that a defendant may be entitled to reasonable costs and attorneys fees if the suit is dismissed, and the defendant, if successful may be awarded $10,000, payable by the plaintiff.
Hopefully, we are on our way to a federal Anti-SLAPP law that will cut down on the number of baseless defamation claims filed in courts across the country.