Rubbing Salt into the Wounds of Internet Defamation - Tips to Avoid Anti-SLAPP Dismissal of Your Lawsuit for Online Libel by the Internet Bounty Hunter

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Rexxfield's CEO Michael Roberts, an Internet libel litigation and digital forensics consultant, reveals his tips on mitigating the risks associated with having an Internet defamation lawsuit dismissed and worse still, victim-plaintiffs having to pay the legal costs of the antagonist responsible for the online smear campaign against them.

Michael Roberts of Rexxfield

Michael Roberts of Rexxfield

To rub salt into the wounds, an anti-SLAPP dismissal is often accompanied by an order for the plaintiff to pay the legal expenses of the defendant.

A Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit filed by a well financed plaintiff that is intended to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a litigation expenses until they give up on their critical comments or opposition.

Rexxfield founder & CEO Michael Roberts said "anti-SLAPP safeguards give hope to poorly funded defendants because plaintiffs in these cases do not necessarily expect to prevail in their litigation. Instead, they hope to accomplish their goals if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs and exhaustion; thereby abandoning their public criticism". He added "SLAPP-bullies will also intimidate others from participating in the debate".

A simple Internet search for "anti-SLAPP dismissed" suggests that often legitimate Internet libel and defamation lawsuits are dismissed by judges in those states that have anti-SLAPP legislation. Roberts said some of these dismissals are "not so much because of a lack of credibility, but poor planning by the plaintiffs and their attorneys".

Roberts added "To rub salt into the wounds, an anti-SLAPP dismissal is often accompanied by an order for the plaintiff to pay the legal expenses of the defendant". Consequently, not only has the defendant destroyed the reputation of the victim, the victim has had to pay his or her own legal expenses as well as the defendant's.

Recent cases suggest that the threat of anti-SLAPP dismissal needs to be carefully considered in those states that have such legislation. Rexxfield has recently published a checklist for plaintiff attorneys to help mitigate the risk of anti-SLAPP dismissal. Some tips include:

  • Ensure that important Internet defamation log file records are preserved because they are often at risk of perishing.
  • Take lots of screenshots of webpages that support your case before are deleted.
  • If applicable, obtain testimony from other critics who have been SLAPP-bullied by the plaintiff and demonstrate to the judge this pattern of behavior.

About Michael Roberts of Rexxfield: Michael is a digital and social forensics and social engineering consultant, expert witness, and analyst. He has helped numerous victims of Internet defamation in obtaining relief either through litigation, or simply by positively identifying the anonymous bloggers who take pleasure in tormenting their victim's through Internet smear campaigns. Michael struggled for eight years under a relentless Internet smear campaign, and through necessity developed leading edge technologies and techniques in combating this 21st century problem. Michael's antagonist is now serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for murder in the first degree, but her family has continued with the relentless assault on Michael's reputation.

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