A SLAPP is a vicious tool used to intimidate someone and saddle them with litigation costs in an effort to force them to give up a valuable First Amendment right. More formally, a SLAPP—Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation—is a lawsuit that seeks to deter or punish citizens for exercising their right to free speech and petition. Generally, a SLAPP is a “meritless lawsuit filed primarily to chill the defendant’s exercise of First Amendment rights.” Defendants who face a SLAPP lawsuit in California have a powerful weapon they can use to dispose of a SLAPP through a streamlined procedure referred to as an anti-SLAPP motion. Many states have adopted anti-SLAPP legislation, but California’s anti-SLAPP statute has put California on the forefront of anti-SLAPP litigation.
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