In many cases, SLAPP laws seek to silence people’s rights to free speech. That is why states have put anti-SLAPP laws into place.
Despite this backlash against such legislation, there are still SLAPP cases coming to court. The American Bar Association explains such legal challenges are often a move to silence someone by wasting their time in court.
SLAPP stands for strategic lawsuits against public participation. Anyone bringing such a case to court knows they do not have a legal leg to stand on. However, they may genuinely hope to silence the other party. Anti-SLAPP laws try to keep such cases out of the legal system because they waste time, money and resources.
While someone bringing a SLAPP may know they cannot win the case, they still get it on the court’s docket because their goal is not to win but to cause a headache for the other party. Any lawsuit will take time and money to fight. Until the court tosses it out, you will have to take your time and money to defend yourself and prove the lawsuit is without merit. This is helping the other party reach their goal. They are able to silence you through litigation.
Another benefit of such a lawsuit is that it can act as a deterrent. Others may see what happened to you and be afraid to speak out because they do not want to land themselves in the middle of a lawsuit. Unfortunately, it can be detrimental.
If you find yourself at the center of a SLAPP, all you really can do is show up in court and punish the other party to the greatest extent of the law. This may allow you to deter others from bringing these baseless lawsuits in the future.