Anti-Harassment and Anti-SLAPP
RCW 10.14, Washington’s Anti-Harassment statute, is intended to protect people from unwanted, unreasonable and unjustified contact. However, the statute specifically excludes “constitutionally protected free speech” from being the type of conduct that can subject one to a claim of anti-harassment. In this case, my client was engaging in free speech, but still got served with a petition alleging she had engaged in unlawful harassment. Washington is one of a few states that have enacted an “anti-SLAPP” statute. SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. Sometimes people or corporations use the legal system to cause a critic to spend a lot of money fighting a lawsuit, even when the case is without merit. RCW 4.24.525, Washington’s anti-SLAPP statute*, is intended to make it easier for people subject to a SLAPP to get the case dismissed early, before they have to spend a lot of money. If the court finds that the lawsuit was a SLAPP, then the petitioner must pay the defendant’s legal costs plus a $10,000 fine. Although Washington has no cases applying the anti-SLAPP to anti-harassment cases, California has 2 appellate cases that state that it should apply. We got the case dismissed.
*On May 28, 2015, the Washington Supreme Court invalidated Washington’s Anti-SLAPP statute as unconstitutional.