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The Privilege to Speak One’s Mind: New York Broadens Its Anti-SLAPP Statute

MSK Client Alert 
July 28, 2020

The broad speech protections provided by the First Amendment are emblematic of a “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open[.]”  New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 269–70 (1964).  While this unfettered commitment to free speech may shield a speaker from the chill of liability, practically speaking, it often fails to protect against “the similarly-chilling cost and burden of defending [against] tort claims.”  Henry v. Lake Charles Am. Press, L.L.C., 566 F.3d 164, 167–68 (5th Cir. 2009).  Over the years, plaintiffs have weaponized the filing of meritless lawsuits  to intimidate or punish a speaker for exercising their first amendment rights.  Such a suit is known as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (“SLAPP”)...

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