Pushing for Anti-SLAPP legislation in Wisconsin

A couple of weeks ago I brought up that Wisconsin is one of the states without protection against SLAPP suits. I’ve decided it’s time to change that.

SLAPP – Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation – is the term for a lawsuit filed in civil court under the pretense of something very broad. Defamation is an accusation that is often made. The Plaintiff makes the claim in hopes of scaring and quieting the defendant, and they often work. Lawsuits are very expensive to defend.

Another telltale sign of a SLAPP suit is that the Plaintiff will call very early after the lawsuit commences to offer to settle. The settlement usually demands a retraction or removal of the criticism if it is published, or an apology if it is not. A small dollar amount may be suggested to cover damages.

Anti-SLAPP legislation puts extra burdens on the plaintiff when filing against a critic. The California Anti-SLAPP Project offers a lot of good information if you are interested.

The article, about a young man being sued in Michigan, mentioned there was an attempt to provide protection at a national level. National politics are so messed up right now that I’m not sure I want to wait that long.

Ok, I confess, Wisconsin politics are kind of messed up, too. However, when I visited with my State Representative (soon to be State Senator) Rich Zipperer, he promised to take a look. I’m gathering information to share with him. Here are the states that currently offer protection in addition to California. If you have extra information or stories I can add to the file I’ll be giving Zipperer, it’s time to share!

(cross posted at cindykilkenny.com)


  1. Unfortunately, that law would not cover all the way some people try to intimidate others into silence.

    Key word: Try.

  2. I know Capper! You write my stuff, and I’ll write your stuff. We’ll throw them off the trail.

    The blogosphere would probably collapse, but we’d surely lose the bad guys. 😉

  3. There are some things that just aren’t done, like dividing by zero, doing Myth Buster routines at home, or having you and I write for each other. :0

  4. You aren’t supposed to do MythBuster stuff at home? Rats.

  5. That would be a very unholy alliance, you guys!

  6. What have you heard from State Representative (soon to be State Senator) Rich Zipperer.

    I have been threatened with a SLAPP lawsuit by a Wisconsin company because I submitted truthful and fully provable information to a federal agency. This Wisconsin company falsified statements to federal regulators and has literally endangered thousands of human lives (certain injury and death could occur).

    It is time for Wisconsin to pass Anti-SLAPP legislation now!

  7. Indeed. Well, for one thing Zipperer isn’t a Senator yet, so it will need to wait until then. After that I can bring my research in and he’ll look at it.

    Two things I learned from my research: If you are an employee of the company you might be covered under the new whistleblower legislation, another is if you do get served, get a lawyer. It’s way to much to handle on your own.