Bruce Rosen Quoted in NJ Law Journal
Bruce Rosen, Partner at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden P.C., was recently quoted in a New Jersey Law Journal article titled “’This Will Change Defamation Practice’: NJ Legislature Passes Anti-SLAPP Legislation”. The article reports that New Jersey Senate and Assembly lawmakers unanimously passed legislation this past Friday June 30, 2023 intended to shut down SLAPP suits, lawsuits that strategically silence and detract critics from making public statements.
“The lawsuit may have some nub of truth, but it is likely filled with exaggerated damage claims that would be difficult if not impossible to prove. The plaintiff’s purpose, though, is probably not to collect damages, but to shut down the opposition’s voice with a daunting threat of excessive legal fees and personal costs necessary to defend the actions,” said Bruce Rosen.
Rosen went on to speak on a case where he represented a blogger who wrote about an improper, possibly even illegal, relationship between a councilmember and a developer.
“The blogger lived in a trailer and was terrified about the impact of the case on her life. My previous firm took the case pro bono and spent more than $35,000 on discovery and investigation before a settlement was reached getting her out without paying anything. Under the anti-SLAPP law, a hearing would have been held and the plaintiff would have to provide prima facie proof of the elements, including damages and actual malice, and if the plaintiff cannot, the case would be dismissed and legal fees would be assessed against the plaintiff,” said Rosen.
“In the end, the defendant’s constitutional right to participate in the public process will have been confiscated by a system lacking both a real deterrent to such abuse as well as a mechanism to resolve these cases as soon as they are filed,” Rosen said.
If the bill is signed by Governor Murphy and becomes law, it would change for the better the way most defamation cases are litigated in New Jersey, Rosen believes.
To read the full article, click here.