Atlanta SLAPP Suit Lawyers
Stopping Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation in Their Tracks
SLAPP suits, or Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, usually appear under the guise of libel, slander, or restraint of business lawsuits. Nevertheless, the purpose of a SLAPP suit is much less legitimate. SLAPPs are designed to censor, intimidate, and silence critics and freeze free speech for individuals who speak out against prominent public figures or businesses. The person or institution filing the lawsuit (the plaintiff) does not expect to win the lawsuit but rather files a SLAPP suit to drain the person they are suing (the defendant) of their energy and financial resources or otherwise scare and silence them.
If you have been hit with a SLAPP suit after speaking out against a wealthy or well-known business, individual, or family, you should know that the state of Georgia has anti-SLAPP laws in place to defend you. Additionally, our attorneys at Ross & Pines, LLC can help you respond to a SLAPP suit and protect your First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
For help with a SLAPP suit, please call us at (888) 838-4858 today.
Sued Into Silence
The term, “SLAPP suit,” was first coined by Professors George W. Pring and Penelope Cana in the 1980s after they noticed “a surge in lawsuits filed to silence public criticism by citizens.” Judge J. Nicholas Colabella said the following about SLAPP suits in 1992:
“Short of a gun to the head, a greater threat to First Amendment expression can scarcely be imagined.”
Essentially, a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) arises when a citizen uses their property, public meetings, social media, protests, or another platform to criticize a public figure or business and receives a lawsuit as a result. Most SLAPP suits look like other civil lawsuits, especially those involving defamation, nuisance, interference with a contract or economic advantage, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Unlike standard civil suits, however, SLAPP suits are brought about by powerful figures and are often baseless.
If you suspect a SLAPP suit, Georgia’s anti-SLAPP laws may help you get the suit dismissed.
Georgia’s Anti-SLAPP Statutes
Georgia’s Anti-SLAPP laws appear in Title 9, Chapter 11 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A. § 9-11-11.1). Under these statutes, your statements are protected as long as they are “in connection with an issue of public interest or concern.”
Many SLAPPs die at this stage of litigation, but some plaintiffs submit the required verification and continue to push their baseless lawsuit forward. When this occurs, you must file a motion to dismiss the case for improper verification. The court must hear your motion within 30 days, and the plaintiff cannot proceed with discovery (or information gathering) until they get permission from the court.
Your anti-SLAPP hearing is extremely important, as plaintiffs who can show any legitimacy can move their case forward – just like any other civil suit.
As such, you need to hire an Atlanta SLAPP suit attorney to help you get the case dismissed, once and for all.
If you think you have been ‘SLAPPed,’ seek legal assistance immediately. A local SLAPP lawyer can help you respond to the complaint and utilize Georgia’s anti-SLAPP statutes in your favor. Not only can your attorney help you get the SLAPP dismissed, but the right legal team will be ready to represent you even if a SLAPP moves forward.
At Ross & Pines, LLC, we have more than 100 years of combined legal experience, and our team is committed to protecting your rights. Instead of freezing your voice, we help you amplify it – all while treating you with the utmost confidence and respect.
To work directly with an attorney who will champion your rights and help you achieve your goals, please call us at (888) 838-4858 or contact us online today.