The ACLU has filed an amicus brief with the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in the matter of Daniel M. Snyder v. Creative Loafing. The defendant is publisher of an alternative newspaper that ran an article Snyder didn’t like. Two local television stations and NPR are among those signing on with ACLU in defense of Creative Loafing.
The newspaper is the Washington City Paper, and the article was a piece by Dave McKenna called “Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide to Dan Snyder.”
ACLU and its supporters want to see the lawsuit dropped, saying it is in defiance of a DC law that prevents “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation,” or “SLAPPs.” They say the intent of such a suit is not to win, but to exhaust the resources of a smaller entity, intimidates them into silence and thus chills freedom of speech.
ACLU argues that the odds of Snyder winning are remote. It wrote, “While the plaintiff has not yet had an opportunity to make his case, and it would therefore be premature for amici to express an unqualified conclusion on the merits, the facts on the public record suggest that he is as likely to prevail on the merits here as Voldemort is to prevail over Harry Potter in their final battle.”
Signing on with ACLU are Gannet’s CBS WUSA, Allbritton’s ABC WJLA, National Public Radio and the Maryland-District of Columbia-Delaware Broadcasters Association.
Other signatories to the brief include the American Society of News Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Atlantic Media, Inc., the Public Access Corporation of the District of Columbia, POLITICO LLC, the Public Participation Project, the Environmental Working Group, and Public Citizen, Inc.