DC
11/15/2011 03:19 pm ET | Updated Nov 16, 2011

Lanny Davis' Anti-SLAPP Defense Moving Forward In Court

WASHINGTON -- According to a Tuesday court order, Lanny Davis' anti-SLAPP action against Post-It Note manufacturer 3M, which is accusing the famous D.C. lawyer and lobbyist of defamation, is moving forward.

The lawsuit, among other things, accuses Davis of nearly preventing 3M's CEO from being knighted by the Queen of England.

In October, Davis moved to dismiss the case under D.C.'s new, but untested, anti-SLAPP law, which allows defendants to file special motions to dismiss lawsuits designed to keep them from exercising their First Amendment rights. 3M then filed a "motion to strike" Davis' motion, claiming that D.C.'s anti-SLAPP law violates D.C.'s Home Rule Act, which dictates the capital city's governance structure and limiting the D.C Council's power to establish certain laws regarding the courts. 3M says the anti-SLAPP law violates the law by establishing new court procedures.

The District disagrees with 3M's interpretation of Home Rule, and in early November, D.C. Attorney General Irv Nathan asked the court to allow the D.C. government to intervene in the case, for the sole purpose of arguing the validity of the law.

Tuesday's order, signed by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Wilkins, will allow the city to defend its anti-SLAPP law. The order also requires 3M to file a "substantive response" to Davis's anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss. There's now a briefing schedule as well: The District's filings in support of the anti-SLAPP law are due on Nov. 29. 3M's substantive response to Davis's anti-SLAPP motion is due on Dec. 15. The court will hold a hearing on outstanding motions in January.

Assuming the suit keeps going forward, this will be the court's first time considering the validity of D.C.'s anti-SLAPP statute. Lawyers for Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder previously challenged the law as violating the Home Rule Act, when the Washington City Paper brought an anti-SLAPP action against him after he sued the paper for defamation. But that action was withdrawn before the court could rule.

An interesting sidenote: As City Paper editor Michael Schaffer gleefully points out, there's a certain irony in Davis now being on the side of defending the anti-SLAPP law. Not too long ago, Davis was a PR consultant for Dan Snyder in his defamation suit against the newspaper that was using the anti-SLAPP law in its defense.

RELATED VIDEO: Lanny Davis on WMAL, purportedly talking about joining Dan Snyder's team, in reality talking about Donald Trump and aliens.

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