Slap in Legal Terms

In addition to defamation, SLAPP lawsuits can also include complaints of harassment, deliberate infliction of emotional distress, unauthorized interference, malicious prosecution, or judicial abuse. As noted earlier, the purpose of a SLAPP prosecution is not to obtain a verdict against the accused, but to silence him. An essential characteristic of an SLAPP is therefore the absence of legal value. This is a frivolous lawsuit brought in bad faith. In a defamation lawsuit, a court will not hold you responsible for expressing an opinion. But be aware that adding the words “in my opinion” at the beginning of a sentence won`t necessarily help. For example, if you write, “In my opinion, Mayor Jones accepts bribes from local developers,” you could be held liable for defamation unless the statement is true. If your opinion implies the existence of facts that can be proven true or false, then it is a statement of fact and not an opinion for legal purposes, and you could be held liable for publication if the underlying facts turn out to be false. Strategic prosecutions against public participation (also known as SLAPP or intimidation prosecutions)[1] or strategic prosecutions against public participation[2] are prosecutions aimed at censoring, intimidating and silencing critics by imposing the costs of legal defense on them until they abandon their criticism or opposition. [3] In a typical SLAPP, the plaintiff generally does not expect to win the case. The plaintiff`s goals are achieved when the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, increased legal fees, or simple exhaustion and abandons criticism.

In some cases, repeated frivolous litigation against a defendant can increase the cost of liability insurance for that party`s directors and officers and adversely affect the operation of a corporation. [4] A SLAPP may also deter others from participating in the debate. A SLAPP lawsuit is often preceded by a legal threat. SLAPP lawsuits raise free speech concerns because of their deterrent effect and are often difficult to filter and punish as complainants seek to conceal their intent to censor, intimidate or silence their critics. Most SLAPP lawsuits would eventually fail if fully processed, but the gag server usually has no intention of doing so. As mentioned earlier, the purpose of a SLAPP suit is to intimidate and silence the target by threatening a costly lawsuit. Although the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects free speech, the U.S.

legal system generally gives a party filing a claim the benefit of the doubt until the facts are established, and a successful defendant generally does not have the right to recover attorneys` fees to cover legal defense costs (as in other countries). This means that even if the lawsuit ultimately fails, the process of defending against a SLAPP through the court system can be a daunting and costly prospect for many people. Before Ontario passed its own anti-SLAPP law, the law was enforced there (and then the Supreme Court of Canada, file 33819). In Les Éditions Écosociété Inc., Alain Deneault, Delphine Abadie and William Sacher v. Banro Inc., in which the publisher Écosociété (supported by the BCCLA[32]) argued that Ontario should not be held liable for the publication in Quebec because the action was a SLAPP suit and Quebec law expressly provided for its dismissal. The court dismissed the claim and held that it had jurisdiction. [33] A separate 2011 Quebec Supreme Court decision ruled that Barrick Gold had to pay $143,000 to the three authors and the book`s publisher, Les Éditions Écosociété Inc., to prepare their defence in an “apparently abusive” strategic lawsuit against public participation. [34] Despite Quebec`s decision, a Black Book Canada, which documents the relationship between Canadian mining companies, armed conflict and political actors in Africa, was never published as part of an agreement that, according to the authors, was made solely for the purpose of resolving the three-and-a-half-year legal dispute. Conspiracy: A conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit an illegal act. A plaintiff could claim that you and someone else conspired to commit defamation, disrupt a contract, or intentionally cause emotional distress. Often, the plaintiff will not even specify who you conspired with, but will instead name an undetermined number of “John Does” or “Jane Roes” in the complaint. Remember that designating a claim as a SLAPP lawsuit is, at least initially, a subjective assessment of the merits of its legal and factual claims.