In the libel suit brought against National Review by “Climate Inquisitor” Michael Mann, one of the key issues is whether NR can take an immediate appeal of the trial court’s refusal to dismiss the case at the threshold under the D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act. Like many who seek to use litigation as a weapon to silence their critics, Mann has been arguing that NR should be forced to submit to a lengthy and expensive trial on the facts of the case before the appellate court can decide whether his claims pass muster under the First Amendment as a matter of law. On this front, two recent items:
First, after a full round of briefing on the question of immediate appealability, the D.C. Court of Appeals has ordered briefing on the merits of the case, including whether the First Amendment requires Mann’s claims to be dismissed outright. Although the Court has reserved judgment on the question of immediate appealability, we are very much looking forward to a fresh opportunity to present our arguments on the merits.
Second, in the separate case of Burke v. Doe, the D.C. Court of Appeals issued a decision last week holding that a defendant anonymous blogger had a right to immediately appeal the denial of an Anti-SLAPP motion to quash a subpoena, which would have forced the blogger to reveal his identity. That decision, which includes a cogent analysis of the interplay between the D.C. Anti-SLAPP statute and the right of immediate appeal, is available here.