Almost two months ago we informed you of a special legal motion known as “anti-SLAPP,” which Snopes Media Group (Snopes) had filed against Proper Media and its principals, Chris Richmond and Drew Schoentrup. Today, we are ecstatic to report that our motion was successful.
A “SLAPP” lawsuit, which stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, is a retaliatory lawsuit brought to intimidate or silence critics of business — typically by bleeding those critics dry with litigation costs and harassing them with depositions and document demands. News organizations and journalists are often the target of SLAPP lawsuits brought by the subjects of their reporting.
The principals of Proper Media — one of whom, ironically, is a member of Snopes’ board of directors — attempted to bring defamation claims against Snopes for statements the company published about them and Proper Media in conjunction with our hugely successful GoFundMe campaign. In response, Snopes used California’s anti-SLAPP statute, which protects news organizations and others from being targeted by such litigation by providing a quick and inexpensive mechanism to combat it.
Snopes filed an anti-SLAPP motion against Proper Media, Schoentrup, and Richmond, and as expected, the Snopes fact-checkers prevailed. The court held that the statements in question were true, were not defamatory, and/or were published outside the one-year statute of limitations, and therefore struck down the claims brought against Snopes based on those allegedly defamatory statements.
Does this mean the litigation is over? No. It is ongoing, and we still desperately need your support. However, this win resulted in a number of claims against Snopes being dismissed, as well as the deletion of huge chunks of the opposition’s complaint — recisions worthy of the most ruthless of editors.
We will continue to keep you informed with updates as the case progresses.