Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Forum Shopping Claim Rejected In Defamation Action

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia denied efforts of OAN to dismiss the defamation claims of Smartmatic and the remove the case to a California federal court

In November 2021, Smartmatic filed this lawsuit, claiming that OAN made numerous statements actionable as defamation about Smartmatic and the company’s role or lack thereof in the election.


OAN also notes that Smartmatic appears to be engaged in forum-shopping, striving to avoid a jurisdiction with an anti-SLAPP provision. See OAN’s Reply at 8; see also Justin W. Aimonetti & M. Christian Talley, How Two Rights Made A Wrong: Sullivan, Anti-SLAPP, and the Underenforcement of Public-Figure Defamation Torts, 130 YALE L.J. FORUM 708, 712 (2021) (discussing the advent and evolution of anti-SLAPP provisions). The Court’s exercise of specific personal jurisdiction over OAN comports with the requirements of the Due Process Clause. Indeed, if § 13-423(a)(1) has been satisfied then any added requirement emanating from the Due Process Clause has been satisfied, too. See GTE New Media Servs. Inc. v. BellSouth Corp., 199 F.3d 1343, 1347 (D.C. Cir. 2000). And although forum-shopping is not a trivial concern, a plaintiff may pick the forum and venue so long as the law allows it.

District Judge Nichols authored the opinion. (Mike Frisch)

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