DC – FORRAS et al v. RAUF et al Klayman – Loses another one

Because defendants have made a prima facie showing that Plaintiffs’ claim “ arises from an act in furtherance of the right of advocacy on issues of public interest ,” Plaintiffs must now show that they are “likely to succeed on the merits” of their claim in order to survive Defendants’ Anti – SLAPP motion. D.C. Code § 16 – 5502( b)

 

This Court rules that Defendants’ statements in this case are protected by the judicial proceedings privilege . First, the statements were made in the course of a judicial proceeding . T hey were contained in Defendants’ motion to dismiss the New York Action. The statements related to t he underlying proceeding since they represented Defendants’ attempts to highlight Plaintiffs’ allegedly frivolous position. Defendants’ motion to dismiss centered on the fact that Plaintiffs had failed to plead any cognizable cause of action, and that the action was brought exclusively because Plaintiffs had or have an aversion towards Islam. Mot. to Dismiss at 15. In addition, Just ice Billings, in dismissing Plaintiffs’ sanctions motion in the New York Action, found that the Defendants’ “controversial statements” we re “related to their litigation ” and thus not a basis for sanctions. Bailey Dec., Exhibit 1. While this Court does not wish to be understood as condoning Defendants’ statements, “ t he immunity of the absolute privilege supports the public policy of allowing counsel to zealously represent a client’s interests without fear of reprisal through defamation actions .” Arneja , 541 A.2d at 624 . Because Defendants’ statements qualify under the judicial proceedings privilege, Plaintiffs fail to demonstrate that their defamation and false light claims are likely to succeed on the merits.

Defendant s shall file documentation in support of their motion for attorney’s fees no later than May 9 , 2014. The Court will retain jurisdiction to consider the motion for attorney’s fees. Plaintiff s shall file their opposition to Defendants’ motion for attorney’s fees no later than May 23, 2014. Defendants shall file their reply by May 30, 2014

MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ SPECIAL MOTION TO DISMISS
Docket
Complaint
Motion to Dismiss
Klayman’s Opposition to Motion to Dismiss

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