February 25, 2020

The Supreme Court, Suffolk County (Hon. William G. Ford) has dismissed a “SLAPP” suit filed against parties who were challenging neighbors’ development applications in Reeve v. AndesSuffolk Index No. 622900/2018.  The 14-page decision reviews the origins of the protections against SLAPP suits (a strategic litigation against public participation), including the need to protect First Amendment rights, and thoroughly discusses the anti-SLAPP statutes and case law that has developed over the past three decades to avoid intimidation of those who speak out at public meetings.   Turning to the particulars of the Reeve case, the court agreed with the defendants that they fell within the protection of the anti-SLAPP laws and that the plaintiffs failed to sustain their burden of proving that the SLAPP suit nonetheless had substantial merit to avoid dismissal.  The court also granted the defendants summary judgment as to the plaintiffs’ liability on the defendants’ counterclaims, and it directed the parties to proceed to an inquest to determine the amount of attorney’s fees, costs, disbursements and/or compensatory and punitive damages.  EHADP represented the defendants in the Reeve case, and a copy of the decision is available here.