SLAPP Suit

SLAPP Suit

Definition

Short for strategic lawsuit against public participation, a meritless lawsuit usually alleging defamation or interference with contract or economic advantage brought by a large private interest against citizens who speak out on an issue of public concern. A SLAPP suit is not filed to obtain a verdict or recover damages but to discourage critics from continuing to make negative public statements or punish them for doing so and to force them to spend their time and resources defending a SLAPP suit instead. Because SLAPP suits chill First Amendment rights, many states and the District of Columbia have enacted anti-SLAPP laws permitting SLAPP defendants to move expeditiously to dismiss meritless cases and avoid expensive litigation.

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