Understanding New York’s Anti-SLAPP Laws
Anti-SLAPP laws are designed to protect the little guy when it comes to speech that is in a public forum on a subject that is of public interest. I'm essence, it insulated average speakers from being chilled from speech by big corporations that sue them for making not complimentary comments about them.
In essence, in when the speech involves an issue of public interest, in a public forum, the plaintiff in a defamation suit must prove, at the outset, by clear and convincing evidence, that it has a case. Short of that, the case MUST be dismissed and the plaintiff MUST be ordered to pay defense costs.
This turns the initial standard on its head wherein, normally a defendant must definitively show that a plaintiff has no case in order to have the case thrown out at the outset.
In the normal case, courts do not want to discourage people from enforcing their rights by making it too easy for cases to be dismissed. In the defamation context, courts do not want speakers to be too easily intimidated. Therefore, the higher standard.
However, the above rule changes if you are in Federal Court rather than State Court. If you are sued for defamation, you need a lawyer who can navigate these issues and can advise you the right way forward; to let you know it attorney's fees are available or not. Please contact Farber Schneider Ferrari LLP, as we can help you wade through these issues and give you peace of mind an obviously stressful situation.