Schwern v. Plunkett, 845 F.3d 1241 (9th Cir. 2017)
The day their divorce was finalized, Nóirín Plunkett accused Michael Schwern of rape, and he was charged with strangulation and harassment. Word of his arrest spread online, and he sued Plunkett in federal court in Oregon for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and intentional interference with economic relations, alleging $6,000,000 in damages. Plunkett filed a motion under Oregon’s anti-SLAPP statute, which is designed to dispose of baseless lawsuits attacking public speech. After the district court denied the motion, Plunkett retained Dan Booth, who successfully argued for a reversal on appeal in the Ninth Circuit. The Court of Appeals agreed that Oregon’s anti-SLAPP law applied in federal court, and instructed the district court to grant the anti-SLAPP motion because there was no evidence of record that Plunkett was the source of the online comments about Schwern.
- Mike Rogoway, Federal appeals panel, citing Oregon’s anti-SLAPP law, tosses out lawsuit against rape accuser, The Oregonian (Jan. 23, 2017)
- Aaron Mesh, Open-Source Warfare, Willamette Week (June 30, 2015)