Law Professors Unite Behind Federal Anti-SLAPP Legislation

Eric Goldman, Professor of Law and Co-Director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University School, has been joined by 58 law professors in writing to Congress urging enactment a Federal anti-SLAPP law – the SPEAK FREE Act.  Details of the legislation and signing professors are below.

Securing Participation, Engagement, and Knowledge Freedom by
Reducing Egregious Efforts (“SPEAK FREE”) Act of 2015 Summary

  • Amends the federal judicial code to allow a person against whom a lawsuit is asserted to file a special motion to dismiss claims referred to as strategic lawsuits against public participation (“SLAPP suits”) that arise from an oral or written statement or other expression, or conduct in furtherance of such expression, by the defendant in connection with an official proceeding or about a matter of public concern.
  • Defines “matter of public concern” as an issue related to: (1) health or safety; (2) environmental, economic, or community well-being; (3) the government; (4) a public official or public figure; or (5) a good, product, or service in the marketplace.
  • Requires courts to grant such a special motion to dismiss if the party filing the motion makes a prima facie showing that the claim asserted against them is a SLAPP suit, unless the responding party demonstrates that the claim is likely to succeed on the merits.
  • Provides exceptions prohibiting courts from granting such a special motion to dismiss if the claim concerns: (i) a government enforcement action; (ii) a business making representations of fact in commercial speech to consumers about its own or a business competitor’s goods or services, or (iii) a public interest claim on behalf of the general public.
  • Allows dismissal of private suits, notwithstanding such commercial speech and public interest exceptions, if the claim is against: (i) a person or entity engaged in activities to disseminate or express ideas to the public in a book or academic journal; (ii) any person or entity based upon statements or conduct concerning the creation, dissemination, exhibition, advertisement, or other promotion of journalistic, consumer commentary, dramatic, literary, musical, political, or artistic works, including motion pictures, television programs, or articles published online or in a newspaper or magazine of general circulation; or (iii) a nonprofit organization that receives more than 50% of annual revenue grants or awards from, programs of, or reimbursements for services rendered to the government.

Signing Professors

  1. Donald K. Anton – University of Colorado School of Law (Distinguished Visiting
  2. David Ardia – University of North Carolina School of Law
  3. Timothy K. Armstrong – University of Cincinnati College of Law
  4. Hope Babcock – Georgetown University Law Center
  5. Derek E. Bambauer – University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
  6. Jane Bambauer – University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
  7. Sandra S. Baron – Yale Law School’s Information Society Project and Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression (Senior Fellow)
  8. Jeremy Bock – The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
  9. John E. Bonine – University of Oregon School of Law
  10. Michael C. Blumm – Lewis and Clark Law School
  11. Annemarie Bridy – University of Idaho College of Law
  12. John C. Brittain – David A. Clarke School of Law School, University of the District
    of Columbia
  13. Brandon Butler – American University Washington College of Law (Practitioner-inResidence)
  14. Dr. Irene Calboli – Texas A&M University School of Law
  15. Megan M. Carpenter – Texas A&M University School of Law
  16. Michael A. Carrier- Rutgers Law School
  17. Colleen Chien – Santa Clara University School of Law
  18. Philip E. Cleary – University of Massachusetts School of Law
  19. Juscelino F. Colares – Case Western Reserve University School of Law
  20. Rebecca Curtin – Suffolk University School of Law
  21. Frank Deale – CUNY Law School
  22. Myanna Dellinger – University of South Dakota School of Law
  23. Frances S. Fendler – University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law
  24. A. Michael Froomkin – University of Miami School of Law
  25. Brian L. Frye – University of Kentucky College of Law
  26. Deborah Gerhardt – University of North Carolina School of Law
  27. Dale D. Goble – University of Idaho College of Law
  28. Leah Chan Grinvald – Suffolk University Law School
  29. Hugh C. Hansen – Fordham University School of Law
  30. Yaniv Heled – Georgia State University College of Law
  31. Robert A. Heverly – Albany Law School
  32. Oliver A. Houck – Tulane Law School
  33. David Hricik – Mercer Law School
  34. William S. Jordan, III – The University of Akron School of Law
  35. Jessica M. Kiser – Gonzaga University School of Law
  36. Mae Kuykendall – Michigan State University College of Law
  37. Stacey M. Lantagne – The University of Mississippi School of Law
  38. Mark A. Lemley – Stanford Law School
  39. David S. Levine – Elon University School of Law
  40. Lyrissa Lidsky – University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law
  41. Yvette Joy Liebesman – Saint Louis University School of Law
  42. Ryke Longest Nicholas – School of the Environment, Duke School of Law
  43. Brian J. Love Santa Clara University School of Law
  44. Daniel R. Mandelker – Washington University in Saint Louis School of Law
  45. James Edward Maule – Villanova University School of Law
  46. Stephen M. Maurer Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley
  47. Stephen McJohn S- uffolk University Law School
  48. Joel A. Mintz Nova – Southeastern University College of Law
  49. Ira Steven Nathenson St. Thomas University School of Law
  50. Lisa Ramsey – University of San Diego School of Law
  51. Robert D. Richards – Pennsylvania Center for the First Amendment, Penn State University
  52. Jorge R. Roig – Charleston School of Law
  53. Pamela Samuelson – UC Berkeley School of Law
  54. Jessica Silbey – Northeastern University School of Law
  55. Joshua M. Silverstein – University of Arkansas at Little Rock, William H. Bowen School of Law
  56. Robert N. Strassfeld – Case Western Reserve University School of Law
  57. Catherine Tucker – MIT Sloan School of Management
  58. Rebecca Tushnet – Georgetown University Law Center