A SLAPP suit, short for “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation,” is a civil claim filed against an individual or organization arising out of that party’s speech or communication about an issue of public concern.
SLAPP suits center around the First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom to petition the government. Such lawsuits are usually filed to silence criticism of matters of public concern.
SLAPP suits are often filed against a party for numerous reasons, including:
- Publicly protesting an organization
- Reporting misconduct of members of an organization
- Exposing unfair trade practices of an organization
- Posting a bad review online
- Reporting on a story that is critical of an individual or organization
Courts heavily disfavor SLAPP suits because they infringe on the speaker’s First Amendment rights. Currently, 32 states have Anti-SLAPP laws that punish parties for bringing suits meant to silence their critics. Anti-SLAPP laws exist to protect speakers from lawsuits meant to intimidate them and threaten them financially.
In 2019, Colorado passed an anti-SLAPP law (C.R.S. § 13-20-1101) which enables the defendant to request that the court dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that the relevant speech is protected. Once the defendant shows that the speech at issue is protected, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to show that they would have a reasonable likelihood to win the suit. If the plaintiff does not make the necessary showing, then the case will be dismissed, and they may have to pay attorney’s fees to the defendant.
Colorado’s anti-SLAPP law protects acts in furtherance of a person’s right of petition or free speech under the United States Constitution or the state constitution in connection with a public issue. These acts include:
- Any written or oral statement or writing made before a legislative, executive, or judicial proceeding or any other official proceeding authorized by law;
- Any written or oral statement or writing made in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a legislative, executive, or judicial body or any other proceeding authorized by law;
III. Any written or oral statement or writing made in a place open to the public or a public forum in connection with an issue of public interest; or
- Any other conduct or communication in furtherance of the exercise of the constitutional right of free speech in connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest.
How to Choose and Hire a Colorado Defamation Attorney
Colorado defamation law can become too complex for most laypersons to navigate on their own. You can better understand your legal options and work with a Denver Defamation Lawyer to take immediate steps to safeguard your reputation.
If you’ve been the victim of defamation in Denver, it is crucial to reach out to a Denver defamation law firm. To speak with a Denver defamation attorney, contact Baker Law Group to get the justice you deserve.