2colorful prose familiar to readers of the publication and common to the genre in which itappeared.Mr. Snyder has conceded that he is a public figure. More significantly, he and hisrepresentatives have declared publicly and unabashedly that he brought this action
to gaincompensation for anyinjury to his reputation, but rather to punish and intimidate the author andpublisher of an unflattering account of his public life, as well as to dissuade others fromcriticizing him in the future.When faced with such a “strategic lawsuit against public participation” arising “from anact in furtherance of the right of advocacyon issues of public interest,” a defendant in a court inthe District of Columbia “may file a special motion to dismiss” under the Anti-SLAPP Act.D.C.Code § 16-5502(a). The Act is expressly designed to bring an early and definitive end tolawsuits instituted by those plaintiffs who have made litigation their “‘weapon of choice’”against their public critics, “not to win the lawsuit but to punish the opponent and intimidatetheminto silence.” Council of the District of Columbia, Committee on Public Safety and theJudiciary, Report on Bill 18-893 (Nov. 19, 2010) at 4.
Accordingly, the Act provides that thespecial “motion
shall be granted
unless the responding party demonstrates that the claim
is likelyto succeed on the merits
,” D.C. Code § 15-5502(b) (emphasis added), and the dismissal “
bewithprejudice,” D.C. Code § 16-5502(d) (emphasis added).Defendants’ publication of the Commentary falls comfortably within the protectionsafforded by the Anti-SLAPP Act—itplainly constitutes “expressive conduct that involves...communicating views to members of the public in connection with an issue of public interest,”D.C. Code §16-5501(1)(B), which the Act expressly defines to encompass the public discussionof“issue[s] related to” the conduct of “a public figure” such as Mr. Snyder. D.C. Code§16-5501(3). The Commentary is, therefore, immune from suitunless Mr. Snyder is able to
A copy of the newly codified statute is attached as Exhibit 26 to the Affidavit of Alia L. Smith,Esq., filed herewith, and a copy of the cited Committee Report likewise is attached as Exhibit 27.