Alliance Joins Brief Arguing California Anti-SLAPP Fee-Shifting Provision Applies in Federal Court

Update: On March 1, 2024, the parties in Martinez v. ZoomInfo alerted the Court of Appeals that they had reached an agreement and settled their dispute, and the Court cancelled the en banc argument scheduled for later in March. As such, the California anti-SLAPP statute currently remains applicable in federal court.

On February 8, 2024, the Alliance joined a brief in Martinez v. ZoomInfo Technologies, Inc. filed in the Ninth Circuit, in which the plaintiff sued ZoomInfo, a professional web directory service, alleging violations of right-of-publicity by including the plaintiff’s name and professional information in a ZoomInfo “teaser” profile to advertise for subscriptions. ZoomInfo invoked the California anti-SLAPP statute in a motion to strike, which the district court denied, and a panel of the Ninth Circuit affirmed, although on alternative grounds. The panel held that the lawsuit fell under an exemption to the anti-SLAPP statute because the lawsuit was “brought solely in the public interest”.  On January 18, the Ninth Circuit vacated the panel opinion and scheduled an en banc argument. The brief, filed by RCFP, in support of neither party, focuses on a procedural argument that the substantive provisions of the California anti-SLAPP statute – and specifically the statute’s fee-shifting provision – are applicable in federal court. This provision is an important deterrent to meritless lawsuits designed to chill free speech, and without it press freedoms would be weakened. Read more.


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