State Supreme Court finds statute violates Washington Constitution
Earlier this year, we wrote about a case involving Washington state’s Anti-SLAPP statute. SLAPP standing for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. Now, the Washington state Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional.
This past May, in Davis v. Cox, the state Supreme Court held the statute unconstitutional. The state statute allowed for defendants in libel and other free-speech related cases to dismiss a lawsuit filed against them unless the person filing the lawsuit could show a probability of prevailing on the claim through “clear and convincing evidence.” While the state Supreme Court in the Davis case acknowledged that “frivolous” claims do not warrant a jury trial, the Court determined that the trial court judge’s determination of the merits invades the right to a civil jury trial.
The case strikes down a statute, patterned after the California law, which aided protections against those that spoke out about issues of public concern from litigation that would effectively mute their right. This article breaks down the reasons why losing this law hurts. If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact me.