Gene Libby and Tyler Smith successfully defended an appeal filed by a defendant in a defamation case. The defendant moved to have the case dismissed under the Maine anti-SLAPP statute, 14 M.R.S. § 556. The statute requires that the motion be filed within 60 days of the service of the complaint, and the defendant here filed his motion to dismiss well after the time elapsed.
On appeal, the defendant’s attorneys argued that the trial judge misconstrued the deadline, and did not give due consideration to the purpose of the statute. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which heard oral argument last week, rejected that argument, and agreed with Attorneys Libby and Smith that the trial judge was vested with “broad discretion” to reject the untimely filed motion. As a result of the Court’s ruling, the defamation lawsuit filed on behalf of the firm’s clients may go forward.