Slapp’d in Butte County: Funding a Lawsuit Held Protected by the First Amendment
This post is part of a series on California’s anti-SLAPP law from the perspective of Los Angeles appellate and trial attorney, Jeffrey Lewis. The First Amendment and California’s anti-SLAPP law have long been held to protect litigation related activities. Filing a lawsuit, for example, is protected by the First Amendment. Statements made in court proceedings are likewise protected. If a defendant is sued for such litigation activities, the defendant can usually quickly obtain a dismissal by filing an anti-SLAPP motion.
Last month, the Third District Court of Appeal issued its ruling in Sheley v. Harrop (March 20, 2017 No. C077747). In Sheley, the court ruled that funding a lawsuit is an activity protected by the First Amendment and California’s anti-SLAPP law. In footnote 8 of the opinion, the Sheley court ruled:
We disagree with the court to the extent that it concluded that spending money to fund a lawsuit does not constitute protected activity within the meaning of the statutory scheme.
This opinion represents a significant expansion of protection of the First Amendment for defendants targeted in a lawsuit.
Jeffrey Lewis and the other attorneys at Broedlow Lewis LLP are experienced trial and appellate attorneys who can advise you about the specifics of your anti-SLAPP issue or appeal. Each case is different and you should consult a lawyer rather than relying on this post as legal advice for your situation. If you are contemplating filing or responding to lawsuit or appeal with potential anti-SLAPP issues, consider hiring a certified appellate specialist as your lawyer or co-counsel. Don’t wing it, win it.