What is a Slapp Motion?

Law Talk

Sam K. Abdulaziz
Attorney at Law

This is a case involving a SLAPP Motion. SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. The case involved numerous parties. However, for purposes of this article, we will call the parties Platypus and Goldberg. Platypus alleged that Goldberg had acted illegitimately as Platypus's Chief Financial Officer and that he assisted others in taking a number of actions that had harmed Platypus's interests.

More than two years after Platypus filed its complaint, Goldberg filed an Application for leave of court to file a late special Motion to Strike the Complaint. This is typically called and Anti-SLAPP Motion. The law states that a party may not file a Anti-SLAPP Motion more than 60 days after the filing of the Complaint unless the trial court affirmatively exercises its discretion to allow the late filing.

The trial court granted Goldberg's Application to file a late Anti-SLAPP Motion. Goldberg then filed an Anti-SLAPP Motion, which the trial court denied on its merits.

Goldberg claimed that the trial court erred in denying his Anti-SLAPP Motion. Platypus claimed that the trial court erred in granting Goldberg's application to file a late Anti-SLAPP Motion and that the court properly denied the Anti-SLAPP Motion on the merits. The issue dealt with whether the trial court abused its decision in granting a parties request to file a late Anti-SLAPP Motion.

The court stated that in exercising its discretion in considering a party's request to file an Anti-SLAPP Motion after the 60-day period, a trial court must carefully consider whether allowing such a filing is consistent with the purpose.

In this case, Goldberg failed to provide a compelling explanation for why he did not file an Application for Permission to file an Anti-SLAPP Motion earlier in the case. Goldberg did not sufficiently articulate the circumstances justifying the late filing. Therefore, the appellate court reversed the trial courts order granting Goldberg's Application to file an Anti-SLAPP Motion and vacate the trial court's ruling on the merits of the Motion.