Strategic lawsuit against public participation

A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.[1] Such lawsuits have been made illegal in many jurisdictions on the grounds that they impede freedom of speech.

The typical SLAPP plaintiff does not normally expect to win the lawsuit. The plaintiff's goals are accomplished if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism. In some cases, repeated frivolous litigation against a defendant may raise the cost of directors and officers liability insurance for that party, interfering with an organization's ability to operate.[2] A SLAPP may also intimidate others from participating in the debate. A SLAPP is often preceded by a legal threat.

There is a difficulty in that plaintiffs do not present themselves to the Court admitting that their intent is to censor, intimidate or silence their critics. Hence, the difficulty in drafting SLAPP legislation, and in applying it, is to craft an approach which affords an early termination to invalid abusive suits, without denying a legitimate day in court to valid good faith claims. Thus, anti-SLAPP laws target tactics used by SLAPP plaintiffs. Common anti-SLAPP laws include measures such as penalties for plaintiffs who file lawsuits ruled frivolous and special procedures where a defendant may ask a judge to consider that a lawsuit is a SLAPP (and usually subsequently dismiss the suit).

Anti-SLAPP laws occasionally come under criticism from those who believe that there should not be barriers to the right to petition for those who sincerely believe they have been wronged, regardless of ulterior motives. Nonetheless, anti-SLAPP are generally considered to have a favorable effect, and many lawyers have fought to enact stronger laws protecting against SLAPPs.[3]


SLAPPs take various forms. The most common used to be a civil suit for defamation, which in the English common law tradition was a tort. The common law of libel dates to the early 17th century and (unusual in English law) is reverse onus, meaning, once someone alleges a statement is libelous, the burden was on the defendant to prove that it is not. In England and Wales, the Defamation Act 2013 removed most of the uses of defamation as a SLAPP by requiring the proof of special damage. Various abusive uses of this law including political libel (criticism of the political actions or views of others) have ceased to exist in most places, but persist in some jurisdictions (notably British Columbia and Ontario) where political views can be held as defamatory.

A common feature of SLAPPs is forum shopping, wherein plaintiffs find courts that are more favourable towards the claims to be brought than the court in which the defendant (or sometimes plaintiffs) live.[4]

Other widely mentioned elements of a SLAPP are the actual effectiveness at silencing critics, the timing of the suit, inclusion of extra or spurious defendants (such as relatives or hosts of legitimate defendants), inclusion of plaintiffs with no real claim (such as corporations that are affiliated with legitimate plaintiffs), making claims that are very difficult to disprove or rely on no written record, ambiguous or deliberately mangled wording that lets plaintiffs make spurious allegations without fear of perjury, refusal to consider any settlement (or none other than cash), characterization of all offers to settle as insincere, extensive and unnecessary demands for discovery, attempts to identify anonymous or pseudonymous critics, appeals on minor points of law, demands for broad rulings when appeal is accepted on such minor points of law, and attempts to run up defendants' costs even if this clearly costs more to the plaintiffs.

Several jurisdictions have passed anti-SLAPP laws, designed to quickly remove cases out of court. In many cases, the plaintiff is also required to pay a penalty for bringing the case, known as a SLAPP-back.


The acronym was coined in the 1980s by University of Denver professors Penelope Canan and George W. Pring. [5] The term was originally defined as "a lawsuit involving communications made to influence a governmental action or outcome, which resulted in a civil complaint or counterclaim filed against nongovernment individuals or organizations on a substantive issue of some public interest or social significance." The concept's originators later dropped the notion that government contact had to be about a public issue to be protected by the Right to Petition the Government, as provided in the First Amendment. It has since been defined less broadly by some states, and more broadly in one state (California) where it includes suits about speech on any public issue.[6]

The original conceptualization proffered by Canan and Pring emphasized the right to petition as protected in the United States under the US Constitution's specific protection in the First Amendment's fifth clause. It is still definitional: SLAPPs refer to civil lawsuits filed against those who have communicated to government officialdom (in its entire constitutional apparatus). The Right to Petition, granted by Edgar the Peaceful, King of England in the 10th century, antedates the Magna Carta in terms of its significance in the development of democratic institutions. As currently conceived, the right claims that democracy cannot properly function in the presence of barriers between the governed and the governing.[7]

New York Supreme Court Judge J. Nicholas Colabella, in reference to SLAPPs: "Short of a gun to the head, a greater threat to First Amendment expression can scarcely be imagined." Gordon v. Morrone, 590 N.Y.S.2d 649, 656 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1992). A number of jurisdictions have made such suits illegal, provided that the appropriate standards of journalistic responsibility have been met by the critic.

Jurisdictional variations


In the Australian Capital Territory, the Protection of Public Participation Act 2008 protects conduct intended to influence public opinion or promote or further action in relation to an issue of public interest. A party starting or maintaining a proceeding against a defendant for an improper purpose may be ordered to pay a financial penalty to the Territory.[8]


Some political libel and forum shopping incidents, both common in Canada, have been called SLAPPs, because such suits load defendants with costs of responding in unfamiliar jurisdictions or at times (typically elections) when they are extremely busy and short of funds. Both types of suits are almost unusual to Canada, so there is little academic concern nor examination of whether political subject matter or remote forums are a clear indicator of SLAPP.

British Columbia

One of the first cases in Canada to be explicitly ruled a SLAPP was Fraser v. Saanich (see [1999] B.C.J. No. 3100 (B.C. S.C.)) (QL), where the British Columbia Supreme Court struck out the claim of a hospital director against the District of Saanich, holding that it was a meritless action designed to silence or intimidate the residents who were opposed to the plaintiff’s plan to redevelop the hospital facilities.

Following the decision in Fraser v. Saanich, the Protection of Public Participation Act went into effect in British Columbia in April 2001. The legislation was repealed in August 2001. There was extensive debate on its merits and the necessity of having hard criteria for judges and whether this tended to reduce or increase process abuse. The debate was largely formed by the first case to discuss and apply the Protection of Public Participation Act (PPPA), Home Equity Development v. Crow.[9] The defendants' application to dismiss the action against them was dismissed. The defendants failed to meet the burden of proof required by the PPPA, that the plaintiffs had no reasonable prospect of success. While it was not the subject of the case, some felt that the plaintiffs did not bring their action for an improper purpose, and the suit did not inhibit the defendants in their public criticism of the particular project, and that the Act was therefore ineffective in this case.

Since the repeal, BC activists especially the BCCLA have argued repeatedly for a broad understanding of SLAPP and a broad interpretation of judicial powers especially in intervener applications in BC and other common law jurisdictions and when arguing for new legislation to prevent SLAPPs. The activist literature contains extensive research on particular cases and criteria. The West Coast Environmental Law Association agrees and generally considers BC to lag other jurisdictions . So do some BC lawyers, again listing specific cases .

Nova Scotia

A private member's bill introduced in 2001 by Graham Steele (NDP, Halifax Fairview) proposed a "Protection of Public Participation Act" to dismiss proceedings or claims brought or maintained for an improper purpose, awarding punitive or exemplary damages (effectively, a SLAPP back) and protection from liability for communication or conduct which constitutes public participation. The bill did not progress beyond first reading.[10]


In Ontario, the decision in Daishowa v. Friends of the Lubicon (see [1996] O.J. No. 3855 Ont. Ct. Gen. Div.) (QL) was also instructive on SLAPPs. A motion brought by the corporate plaintiff Daishowa to impose conditions on the defendant Friends of the Lubicon Indian Band that they would not represent Daishowa’s action as a SLAPP was dismissed.

By 2010, the Ontario Attorney-General issued a major report which identified SLAPP as a major problem[11] but initially little or nothing was done.[12]

In June 2013, the Attorney General introduced legislation to implement the recommendations of the report; that bill was re-introduced after the 2014 election. As of 2014, Bill 83, the Protection of Public Participation Act (2014), has been referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy and is not yet law.[13] The bill proposes a mechanism for an order to dismiss strategic lawsuits which attack free expression on matters of public interest, with full costs (but not punitive damages) and on a relatively short timeframe, if the underlying claims have no reasonable prospect of success.[14] In October 2015, Ontario passed the Protection of Public Participation Act, 2015.[15]

The bill is supported by a wide range of groups including municipalities,[16] the Canadian Environmental Law Association, EcoJustice, Environmental Defence,[17] Ontario Clean Air Alliance, Ontario Nature, Canadian Civil Liberties Association,[18] Canadian Journalists for Free Expression,[19] Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, The Council of Canadians, CPAWS Wildlands League, Sierra Club Ontario, Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario[20] and Greenpeace Canada.[21] The Ontario Civil Liberties Association has called upon the Attorney General to go further, as Bill 83 does not correct fundamental flaws with Ontario's defamation law which impose a one-sided burden of proof to force defendants to disprove falsity, malice, and damage within a very limited framework where “truth”, “privilege”, “fair comment”, and “responsible reporting” are their only recognised defences.[22]


Québec's then Justice Minister, Jacques Dupuis, proposed an anti-SLAPP bill on June 13, 2008. [23] The bill was adopted by the National Assembly of Quebec on June 3, 2009. As of September 2013, Quebec's amended Code of Civil Procedure is the only anti-SLAPP mechanism in force in Canada.

This bill was invoked in Ontario (and then Supreme Court of Canada docket 33819) in the case of Les Éditions Écosociété Inc., Alain Deneault, Delphine Abadie and William Sacher vs. Banro Inc., in which the publisher Écosociété pleaded (supported by the BCCLA ) that it should not face Ontario liability for a publication in Quebec, as the suit was a SLAPP and the Quebec law explicitly provided to dismiss these. The court denied the request, ruling that the Ontario court did have jurisdiction.[24] A separate 2011 decision in Quebec Superior Court had ruled that Barrick Gold had to pay $143,000 to the book’s three authors and publisher, Les Éditions Écosociété Inc., to prepare their defence in a “seemingly abusive” strategic lawsuit against public participation.[25] Despite the Québec ruling, a book "Noir Canada" documenting the relationship between Canadian mining corporations, armed conflict and political actors in Africa was never published as part of a settlement which, according to the authors, was only made for the sole purpose of resolving the three-and-a-half year legal battle.

The Quebec law is substantially different in structure than that of California[26] or other jurisdictions, however as Quebec's Constitution generally subordinates itself to international law, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights applies. That treaty only permits liability for arbitrary and unlawful speech. The ICCPR has also been cited, in the BC case Crookes v. Newton, as the standard for balancing free speech versus reputation rights. The Supreme Court of Canada in October 2011, ruling in that case, neither reiterated nor rescinded that standard.

United States

Twenty-eight states, the District of Columbia, and Guam have enacted statutory protections against SLAPPs.[27] These states are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts,[28] Minnesota,[29] Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas,[30][31] Utah, Vermont, and Washington. In Colorado and West Virginia, the courts have adopted protections against SLAPPs. These laws vary dramatically in scope and level of protection, and the remaining states lack specific protections.

There is no federal anti-SLAPP law. The extent to which state laws apply in federal courts is unclear, and the circuits are split on the question. The First,[32] Fifth[33] and Ninth[34] circuits have allowed litigants from Maine, Louisiana and California, respectively, to use their state's special motion in federal district courts in diversity actions. The D.C. Circuit has held the reverse for D.C. litigants.[35]

It has been argued that the lack of uniform protection against SLAPPs has encouraged forum shopping; proponents of federal legislation have argued that the uncertainty about one's level of protection has likely magnified the chilling effect of SLAPPs.[36]

In December 2009, Rep. Steve Cohen (D–Tennessee) introduced the Citizen Participation Act in the U.S. House.[37] This marks the first time the Congress has considered federal anti-SLAPP legislation, though the Congress enacted the SPEECH Act on the closely related issue of libel tourism.[38] Like many state anti-SLAPP laws, H.R. 4364 would allow the defendant of a SLAPP to have the suit quickly dismissed and to recover fees and costs.


California has a unique variant of anti-SLAPP legislation. In 1992 California enacted Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16, a statute intended to frustrate SLAPPs by providing a quick and inexpensive defense.[6] It provides for a special motion that a defendant can file at the outset of a lawsuit to strike a complaint when it arises from conduct that falls within the rights of petition or free speech. The statute expressly applies to any writing or speech made in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a legislative, executive, or judicial proceeding, or any other official proceeding authorized by law, but there is no requirement that the writing or speech be promulgated directly to the official body. It also applies to speech in a public forum about an issue of public interest and to any other petition or speech conduct about an issue of public interest.

To win on an anti-SLAPP (special motion to strike) motion, the defendant in the alleged SLAPP action must first show that the lawsuit is based on claims related to constitutionally protected activities, typically First Amendment rights such as free speech, and typically seeks to show that the claim lacks any basis of genuine substance, legal underpinnings, evidence, or prospect of success. If this is demonstrated then the burden shifts to the plaintiff, to affirmatively present evidence demonstrating a reasonable probability of succeeding in their case by showing an actual wrong would exist as recognized by law, if the facts claimed were borne out.

The filing of an anti-SLAPP motion stays all discovery. This feature acts to greatly reduce the cost of litigation to the anti-SLAPP defendant, and can make beating the motion extremely difficult for the plaintiff, because they effectively must prove their case has at least a basis of visible legal merit and is not merely vexatious, prior to discovery.

If the special motion is denied, the order denying the motion is immediately appealable. Defendants prevailing on an anti-SLAPP motion (including any subsequent appeal) are entitled to a mandatory award of reasonable attorney’s fees. After an anti-SLAPP motion has been filed, a plaintiff cannot escape this mandatory fee award by amending its complaint. More than 300 published court opinions have interpreted and applied California's anti-SLAPP law.[39]

California's Code of Civil Procedure § 425.17 corrects what the Legislature found to be abuse of the anti-SLAPP statute.[40] Signed into law on September 6, 2003, this statute prohibits anti-SLAPP motions in response to certain public interest lawsuits and class actions, and actions that arise from commercial statements or conduct. Section 425.18, signed into law on October 6, 2005, was enacted to facilitate SLAPP victims in recovering their damages through a SLAPPback (malicious prosecution action) against the SLAPP filers and their attorneys after the underlying SLAPP has been dismissed.[41]

Balancing the right of access to the courts

The SLAPP penalty stands as a barrier to access to the courts by providing an early penalty to claimants who seek judicial redress. In recent years, the courts in some states have recognized that enforcement of SLAPP legislation must recognize and balance the constitutional rights of both litigants. It has been said:

Since Magna Carta, the world has recognized the importance of justice in a free society. “To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice.” (Magna Carta, 1215.) This nation’s founding fathers knew people would never consent to be governed and surrender their right to decide disputes by force, unless government offered a just forum for resolving those disputes.[42]

The right to bring grievances to the courts, in good faith, is protected by state and federal constitutions in a variety of ways. In most states, the right to trial by jury in civil cases is recognized. The right to cross-examine witnesses is considered fundamental to the American judicial system. Moreover, the first amendment protects the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. The “right to petition extends to all departments of the Government. The right of access to the courts is indeed but one aspect of the right of petition.”[43] Because "the right to petition is 'among the most precious of the liberties safeguarded by the Bill of Rights,' ... the right of access to the courts shares this 'preferred place' in [the United States'] hierarchy of constitutional freedoms and values."[44] This balancing question is resolved differently in different states, often with substantial difficulty.[45]

In Palazzo v. Alves, the Supreme Court of Rhode Island stated:

By the nature of their subject matter, anti-SLAPP statutes require meticulous drafting. On the one hand, it is desirable to seek to shield citizens from improper intimidation when exercising their constitutional right to be heard with respect to issues of public concern. On the other hand, it is important that such statutes be limited in scope lest the constitutional right of access to the courts (whether by private figures, public figures, or public officials) be improperly thwarted. There is a genuine double-edged challenge to those who legislate in this area.[46]

The most challenging balancing problem arises in application to SLAPP claims which do not sound (give rise to a claim) in tort. The common law and constitutional law have developed in the United States to create a high substantive burden to tort and tort-like claims which seek redress for public speech, especially public speech which addresses matters of public concern. The common law in many states requires the pleader to state accurately the content of libelous words. Constitutional law has provided substantive protection which bars recovery against a first amendment defense except upon clear and convincing evidence that there has been deliberate or reckless falsehood. For this reason, ferreting out the bad faith SLAPP claim at an early stage of litigation should be accomplished with relative ease. Extension of the SLAPP penalties to factually complex cases, where the substantive standard of proof at common law is lower presents special challenges.

A Minnesota Supreme Court case, Middle-Snake-Tamarac Rivers Watershed Dist. v. Stengrim, 784 N.W.2d 834 (Minn. 2010) establishes a two-step process to determine whether SLAPP procedure should be applied. The decision arises in the context of an effort to enforce a settlement agreement between a local government and an opponent of a flood control project. The landowner had accepted a significant monetary settlement in settlement of his opposition to land acquisition. The landowner agreed as part of the settlement to address no further challenges to the project. When the local government sued the landowner for breach of settlement, the landowner contended that enforcement of the settlement was a strategic lawsuit against public participation. The Supreme Court rejected that claim and affirmed the District Court's denial of SLAPP relief, holding “The District Court properly denied a motion to dismiss where the underlying claim involved an alleged breach of a settlement agreement that potentially limited the moving party’s rights to public participation.” The Supreme Court explained:

Preexisting legal relationships, such as those based on a settlement agreement where a party waives certain rights, may legitimately limit a party’s public participation. It would be illogical to read sections 554.01-.05 as providing presumptive immunity to actions that a moving party may have contractually agreed to forgo or limit.

Under the Minnesota approach, as a preliminary matter, the moving party must meet the burden of showing that the circumstances which bring the case within the purview of SLAPP protection exists. Until that has been accomplished, no clear and convincing burden has been shifted to the responding party.

Balancing the Right to Petition Government

Government use of anti-SLAPP statutes to obtain early termination of citizen lawsuits challenging government action, attorney fee awards and statutory penalties presents a problem of balancing both a citizen's right of access to the courts and the right to petition government for redress against the particular government interest challenged. The originators of the SLAPP concept did not include government official defendants.[47] The idea that a statute designed to bolster an individual right may be used by government agencies to shut down and penalize private citizens for exercising a First Amendment right to challenge government action has been criticized.[48] The states are divided on the question of whether anti-SLAPP statutes may be used by government actors. (Compare, Segaline v. Department of Labor & Indus., 238 P.3d 1107,1110 (Wa.2010)(rejecting government use of anti-SLAPP protections)and Vargas v. City of Salinas, 46 Cal.4th 1 (Cal. 2009) (holding government agents may use the anti-SLAPP statute where their statements that are the basis for the lawsuit would be protected "if those statements were made by a private individual or entity.")

Notable SLAPPs






In 2006, Oricon Inc., Japan's music chart provider, sued freelance journalist Hiro Ugaya due to his suggesting in an article for business and culture magazine Cyzo that the company was fiddling its statistics to benefit certain management companies and labels, specifically Johnny and Associates. The company sought 50 million yen and apology from him.[72] He found allies in the magazine's editor-in-chief Tadashi Ibi,[72] lawyer Kentaro Shirosaki,[72] and Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF).[73]

He was found guilty in 2008 by the Tokyo District Court and ordered to pay one million yen, but he appealed and won. Oricon did not appeal later. His 33-month struggle against Oricon and his research on SLAPPs through his self-expense trip in the United States was featured on the TBS program JNN Reportage, titled as "Legal Intimidation Against Free Speech: What is SLAPP?"[74]

RSF expressed its support to the journalist and was relieved on the abandonment of the suit.[73]

United States

In effort to prevent four women from filing any Public Records Requests without first getting permission from a judge, or from filing future lawsuits, the Congress Elementary School District filed a SLAPP on January 28, 2010. The Goldwater Institute, a think tank based in Phoenix, Arizona, represented the four defendants. The school district said that it has been harassed so often by Warren that it was not able to functionally educate its students. Toni Wayas, the school district’s superintendent, claimed "that it had, time and time again, complied with the requests" The Goldwater Institute argued that the school district had been in violation of state laws mandating government transparency in the past. Investigations in 2002 and 2007 by the state Ombudsman and Attorney General uncovered violations of the state’s open meeting law by the Attorney General’s Office. According to Carrie Ann Sitren of the Goldwater Institute, this was “a clear attempt to silence people in the community who have been critical of the board’s actions, and have made good-faith attempts to ensure the district is spending taxpayer money wisely.” None of the records requested were private or confidential, and thus, should have been readily available to be released to the public, according to the assistant state Ombudsman.[89]
"Scientology versus the Internet" refers to a number of disputes relating to the Church of Scientology's efforts to suppress material critical of Scientology on the Internet through the use of lawsuits and legal threats.
In an effort to stop blogger Alexandria Goddard's website from allowing allegedly defamatory posts about their son, two parents of a teenaged boy from Steubenville, Ohio sued Goddard and a dozen anonymous posters in October 2012.[90] The lawsuit asked for an injunction against the blogger, a public apology and acknowledgement that he was not involved in the rape, and $25,000 in damages.[91] The case was dismissed with prejudice in December 2012, after the blogger agreed to post a statement that the boy was remorseful about his role in the aftermath of the Steubenville High School rape case, which was done.[92]

See also

Case studies


  1. 1 2 Nazanin Rafsanjani (April 2, 2010). "SLAPP Back: Transcript". ON THE MEDIA ( WNYC (National Public Radio, PBS). Retrieved June 29, 2011. External link in |work= (help)
  2. "Whacked By Lawsuit Costs, Old City Civic Association Disbands". KYW-TV, CBS Philadelphia.
  3. California 's Anti-Slapp Legislation: A Summary of and Commentary on Its Operation and Scope
  4. Sheldrick, Byron (2014). Blocking Public Participation: The Use of Strategic Litigation to Silence Political Expression. Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press. p. 50. ISBN 9781554589302. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  5. Pring, George W.; Canan, Penelope (1996). SLAPPs: Getting Sued for Speaking Out. Temple University Press. pp. 8–9. ISBN 0-375-75258-7.
  6. 1 2 "(California) Code of Civil Procedure – Section 425.16.". California Anti-SLAPP Project. 2009 [Ratified 1992, last amended 2009]. The Legislature finds and declares that it is in the public interest to encourage continued participation in matters of public significance, and that this participation should not be chilled through abuse of the judicial process.
  7. Gregory A. Mark (January 1, 1998). "The Vestigial Constitution: The History and Significance of the Right to Petition". Fordham Law Review. 66 (6).
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  24. Full text of Supreme Court of Canada decision available at LexUM and CanLII
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  32. Godin v. Schenks 629 F.3d 79 (1st. Cir. 2010)
  33. Henry v. Lake Charles Am. Press, L.L.C., 566 F.3d 164 (5th Cir. 2009)
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  40. "(California) Code of Civil Procedure – Section 425.17.". California Anti-SLAPP Project. September 6, 2003. "[P]articipation in matters of public significance ... should not be chilled through abuse of the judicial process or Section 425.16.
  41. "(California) Code of Civil Procedure – Section 425.18.". California Anti-SLAPP Project. October 5, 2005.
  42. Boucher, David; Kelly, Paul (1994). The Social Contract from Hobbes to Rawls (1st ed.). Routledge (Wikipedia) (Web). ISBN 978-0-415-10846-1. External link in |publisher= (help)
  44. United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit (1986). "780 F.2d 1422: Rondell Harrison and Sharon Harrison, Appellants, v. Springdale Water & Sewer Commission, Mcgoodwin, Williams &yates, Inc., Walter Turnbow, Larry Clinkscales Andharold Henson, Appellees". U.S. Law. External link in |publisher= (help) 780 F.2d 1422, 1427
  45. Supreme Court of Georgia (2002). "DENTON et al. v. BROWNS MILL DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, INC. et al.". FindLaw. External link in |publisher= (help) 561 S.E.2d 431
    DeKalb (Georgia) Superior Court; Judge Workman (2000). "BROWNS MILL DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, INC. et al. v. DENTON et al.". LawSkills. External link in |publisher= (help) 543 S.E.2d 65
    Supreme Court of Georgia (November 30, 2006). "EARTHRESOURCES, LLC v. MORGAN COUNTY, et al. (two cases)". FindLaw. External link in |publisher= (help) Nos. S06A1150, S06A1713.
    Supreme Court (Rhode Island) (August 4, 2004) [filed]. "Stephen Alves v. Hometown Newspapers, Inc., d/b/a The Kent County Daily Times et al." (PDF). Rhode Island Judiciary. External link in |publisher= (help) 857 A.2d 743
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  49. 1 2 3 [2005] VSC 251
  50. 1 2 3 [2006] VSC 386
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