Here's your daily link to Dave McKenna's brilliant "Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder," which we'll be posting until Snyder's dumbass libel suit goes poof, vamoose, son of a bitch. Today: Snyder might be a little SLAPP-happy.
A Deadspin reader and self-described "legal eagle" offers some possible good news for the Washington City Paper and journalists everywhere:
I'm an attorney, and although all of my experience is in criminal defense I learned a few things about SLAPP suits in law school. SLAPP is an acronym for "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation." Snyder's lawsuit is a classic SLAPP, filed with very little or no actual chance at success but intended to intimidate people from speaking out against corporations and business owners. (As an aside, it is also hilariously inept that Redskins general counsel went on record with that letter to the City's ownership explaining to them how expensive they are going to make it to defend the litigation - a hallmark of SLAPPs is that they attempt to achieve their goal of silencing critics by financially overwhelming the defendant.)
The City's blurb on the suit says it is "curious" that Snyder filed in New York, which is where Atalaya is based. However, New York is one of the jurisdictions that has anti-SLAPP legislation on the books, and even better it's one of the eight that has so-called "SLAPPback" provisions, where a defendant in a SLAPP suit can potentially get legal fees and punitive damages from the plaintiff. Although New York's law doesn't halt discovery (where much of the litigation expense will come from in this suit) if the defendant invokes it, Snyder gave the City some ammunition to fight back just by way of his choice in venue. It can be very difficult to succeed in a SLAPPback claim for a variety of reasons, but at least there's the potential.
So you're saying there's a chance? A chance the Washington City Paper could bankrupt Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins and Six Flags? Maybe even Albert Haynesworth too? Splendid.
If the SLAPPback doesn't work out, consider helping the City Paper through a contribution to its legal defense fund.