Stack & Associates, P.C.
Contact Our Office Environmental and Land Use Law

Recent federal case in GA clarifies pleading standard in some anti-SLAPP claims

In recent posts, we’ve been looking at the topic of SLAPP litigation, which is often aimed at those who work in environmental advocacy and those who simply take steps to protect their own environmental rights. As we noted last time, Georgia’s anti-SLAPP law applies in both state and federal court.

The benefit of Georgia’s anti-SLAPP law, as with protections offered by other states, is that it allows defendants to SLAPP claims to have these claims quickly dismissed. Defendants are required to meet the initial burden of showing that the plaintiff’s claim arises from the defendant’s right of petition or free speech. If that burden can be met, the plaintiff is then required to show there is a “probability” that he or she would prevail on the claim.  

One of the issues with Georgia’s anti-SLAPP law, and others like it, is that when the law is invoked in federal court, there is a clash between the “probability” standard required under Georgia law and the standard prescribed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which is “plausibility.” The two standards are not the same, as probability is a heightened standard.

This can become an issue in certain types of federal cases: specifically, those in which the basis for federal jurisdiction is that each party is from a different. The issue in these cases is whether the pleading standard for anti-SLAPP claims is should be that of the anti-SLAPP statute or the standard under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

In a recent decision, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia said the latter standard is applied in anti-SLAPP cases. In effect, this means that plaintiffs in SLAPP actions in federal diversity cases have a lower pleading standard, and it is harder for defendants to have these cases dismissed.

In any SLAPP-related litigation, it is important to work with an experienced attorney, not only to ensure one has guidance and advocacy in building the strongest possible case, but also to help ensure the success of the speech, public debate or other activity that gave rise to the SLAPP claim.

Source: Forbes, “Are Anti-‘SLAPP’ Statutes Toothless In Federal Courts?,” Cory L. Andrews, Feb. 24, 2017. 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Contact Our Firm

In the legal profession as in other fields, past accomplishments are often the best indicators of future success. Our representative cases bear witness to our law firm's ability to represent clients against even the most formidable adversaries, including government bodies and giant corporations, in both individual and class action claims.

Email Us For A Response

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Our Office Locations

260 Peachtree Street N.W.
Suite 1200
Atlanta, GA 30303

Phone: 404-692-7504
Fax: 404.522.0275
Map & Directions

23 Delegal Rd
Savannah, GA 31411

Phone: 404-692-7504
Phone: 912.232.0567
Fax: 404.522.0275