Street Beat Sportswear, Inc. v. National Mobilization against Sweatshops et al.

182 Misc. 2d 447 (1999)

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Street Beat Sportswear, Inc. v. National Mobilization against Sweatshops et al.

New York Supreme Court
182 Misc. 2d 447 (1999)

Facts

In April 1998, Street Beat Sportswear, Inc. (Street) (plaintiff), a clothing manufacturer, was sued by garment workers in federal district court for labor-law violations. In August, several of these garment workers filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Street, alleging labor-law violations. In September, Street sued the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Chinese Staff and Workers Association, National Mobilization against Sweatshops, and others (collectively, the garment-worker representatives) (defendants) for interference with contractual and business relations. Street argued that through use of a publicity campaign, the garment-worker representatives caused two retailers, Sears Roebuck & Co. (Sears) and Charming Shoppes (Charming), to stop buying goods from Street. Street alleged that the garment-worker representatives made false representations in letters sent to Sears and Charming, and in press conferences and flyers, regarding Street’s alleged mistreatment of factory workers. Street claimed that the garment-worker representatives acted jointly to create this publicity. Street also initially sued the garment workers but discontinued its action against them. Street had sued the same garment workers who were plaintiffs in the federal suit. The workers’ names in this suit were listed in the identical order, which was not alphabetical order, as the names in the federal suit. The garment-worker representatives filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Street’s claim was a SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) suit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Abdus-Salaam, J.)

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