Greg Brower COME BACK TO US!!!

April 22, 2015

Senate Bill 444 was a sneak attack on free speech in Nevada. It wasn’t announced in advance, like most legislation. To the extent anyone would have seen it, it got put on the agenda under the innocuous name “Revises provisions governing civil actions.”

But, what it really does is cut the guts out of the Nevada Anti-SLAPP law. Don’t just take my word for it:

The Las Vegas Review-Journal is against Senate Bill 444.

The Sparks Tribune is against it.

TechDirt has an opinion, guess what it is.

PopeHat has an opinion too.

The Elko Daily? Nope, no support for Senate Bill 444 there either.

No single senator put his name on the bill, but State Senator Greg Brower was the guy who seemed to lob softballs at the proponent of it. (Video here) I can’t tell if he didn’t know that he was driving jobs from Nevada and taking away Nevadans’ free speech rights, all at the behest of a Californian who got to go home to his completely-intact Anti-SLAPP law.

Greg Brower.

Remember the name. Lets see what he does now.

A half a percentage point margin of victory?  A mere 266 votes? Yet you hurt your district and your state like this, Greg?

A half a percentage point margin of victory? A mere 266 votes? Yet you hurt your district and your state like this, Greg?

In his last election, Greg Brower only took 50.23% of the vote vs. 49.77%. He’s up for re-election in 15 months.

His seat is vulnerable, and this is an important bipartisan issue.

But, lets remember that nobody is beyond redemption. Maybe there’s a way he can fix this. Maybe he can do what Senator Segerblom did. Segerblom had an amazing amount of class – according to a tweet by John Ralston, Segerbloom said that he and his colleagues were “asleep at the wheel.” (source) Fair enough. We all screw up at work sometimes. I can forgive that.

And, I think that if Brower really thinks about it and changes positions, its going to show that hey, one got past him, but he’s got the wisdom to fix messes if he makes them. I can respect that.

Lets remember where he is from — Washoe county. The Washoe County School District was saved by the Anti-SLAPP law that Brower just took a big dump all over. (Case here) C’mon, Greg, think about this.

I would be prepared to reverse position if he does. But, if he stays on this path of getting Senate Bill 444 to cast a shadow over Nevada’s Anti-SLAPP law, I’m going to fundraise in the next election with the single-minded determination to get him out of Carson City.

Of course, if Brower changes his mind, I would put a yard sign out for him and wear his campaign gear.

I have to believe that given the bipartisan hatred of this bill, I’m not the only one.

Greg Brower, fix this mess. Its a not too late.


The Elko Daily on the effort to kill Nevada’s Anti-SLAPP law

April 22, 2015

The Elko Daily has chimed in on Senate Bill 444. (here) It should come as little surprise that they’re against it too.

So far, we have liberals and conservatives, both aligned on the common ground that Senate Bill 444 is terrible for Nevada. How often does that happen in America nowadays?

I hope, I really hope, that it continues. Senate Bill 444 was a paragon of sleaze. It wasn’t announced in advance, like most legislation. To the extent anyone would have seen it, it got put on the agenda under the innocuous name “Revises provisions governing civil actions.”

Why do you think that is?

Do you think that if it said “Revises the Anti-SLAPP Act” that people might have noticed, and shown up at the Senate hearings?

Yeah, probably.

No single senator had the balls to put his name on the bill, but State Senator Greg Brower was the guy who lobbed softballs at the proponent of it. In his last election, Greg Brower only took 50.23% of the vote vs. 49.77%.

His seat is vulnerable, and I say lets go after it. Campaign contributions are definitely coming from me to whomever runs against him, unless he makes amends somehow.


The Sparks Tribune Weighs in on Senate Bill 444

April 21, 2015

Senate Bill 444, the sneaky attempt to gut Nevada’s Anti-SLAPP act, does not seem to have too many friends (just one, last I counted). Thomas Mitchell at The Sparks Tribune provides us with an eloquent explanation of why the bill should go down in flames.


Home invasions come home to roost

April 20, 2015

Conservatives (not all of them) loved it when we got tough on “crime.” No knock warrants, militarized police, doors bashed down, homes invaded, it all worked to keep a little Reagan-inspired law and order.

Now a conservative activist finds herself on the ass end of this normalized police abuse. Welcome to the party.

You see, Republicans? This is why you should be pissed off when you see the cops kicking down doors to arrest poor people on suspicion of having a bag of weed in their house. This is why when you see them dragging black people out of their homes and depriving them of their rights under the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments, you should be able to picture yourselves in their one-flip-flop while they are face down on their own lawn in handcuffs.

Welcome to the party. Please stick around, since we are going to need numbers.


Another Good Reason to have Law Profs Who have Done the Job

April 20, 2015

Legal academia largely rejects the notion that professors should have practice experience. Yeah, its the only profession in the world where you teach people to do something, and it is a disadvantage to have actually done the job you’re training people to do.

Sorta like if you had a motorcycle mechanic’s school, but you only wanted instructors who could tell you about the origin of the socket wrench, but who had not ever actually performed an oil change.

The WSJ profiles Charlotte Law Professor, Brian Clarke . Specifically, how he opens up to his students about his own depression issues, and how the stress of practicing law pushed him to near-suicide.

Students need to hear that kind of thing. They wouldn’t have heard it from 90% of their professors. Well, 99% when you control for practitioners who suffered from depression issues. Still, that’s the kind of life experience and work experience that could make a real difference.


Who wants to kill Nevada’s Anti-SLAPP statute?

April 19, 2015

I live in California, so why do I care if you stupid Nevadans lose your free speech rights and I drive business away from you?

I live in California, so why do I care if you stupid Nevadans lose your free speech rights and I drive business away from you?


Well, it looks like we know who pushed to kill Nevada’s Anti-SLAPP statute. Watch here, as Mitch Langberg is introduced and bullshits the legislature like the sleazy piece of crap that he is.

Video here.

And why?

Because he got the shit kicked out of him while representing Steve Wynn in California. Here’s the loss.


Florida might have a real Anti-SLAPP Law? Maybe. But, don’t get excited.

April 19, 2015

It looks like a bill is working its way through the Florida legislature that could turn it’s terrible Anti-SLAPP law into one that is of the “not so bad” variety.

Florida House bill 1041 and its Senate companion, Senate bill 1312, take Florida Statute § 768.295 from “completely useless” to “hopeful.”

Currently, Fla. Stat. § 768.295 is super anemic. It only applies to governmental entities. Florida has another Anti-SLAPP act that only applies to homeowners’ associations (but not condo associations). See Fla. Stat. § 720.204(4). As far as I know, § 768.295 has never been used. On the other hand, § 720.204(4) has been used exactly one time. (See Veranda Partners v. Giles) — and that didn’t get appealed, so it is a trial level court order in Orange County, Fla.

In other words, there is a reason that Florida is the most SLAPP-happy state in America.

Therefore, this is a pretty positive development in Florida.

Unfortunately, I am less optimistic than you might think. You see, Florida has a fantastic frivolous claims law now. Fla. Stat. § 57.105 is, textually, a powerful tool to use against frivolous claims, motions, and positions in litigation.

In 1999, the Florida Legislature strengthened § 57.105. That revision gave fees and costs to parties that prevail on a sanctions motion. The purpose was to “reduce frivolous litigation and thereby to decrease the cost imposed on the civil justice system by broadening the remedies that were previously available.” Wendy’s of N.E. Florida, Inc., v. Vandergriff, 865 So.2d 520 (Fla. 1st DCA 2003). Before the 1999 revision, a moving party had to show a complete absence of any justiciable issue of fact or law. That is a standard that really could never be overcome. But, the legislature’s update provided relief if there were “claims or defenses that are unsupported” or frivolous. Id.

In 2002, the legislature added in a safe harbor, which gave parties a chance to withdraw their unsupportable claims or defenses. See Bionetics Corp. v. Kenniasty, 69 So.3d 943, 949 (Fla. 2011), citing Maxwell Bldg. Corp. v. Euro Concepts, LLC, 874 So.2d 709, 711 (Fla. 4th DCA 2004).

So, you see, Florida already has an Anti-SLAPP act of sorts. It doesn’t end the litigation early on, but it would if § 57.105 really existed. But, ask any Florida litigator how many times she has seen conduct that absolutely screams out for sanctions under § 57.105, and then ask her how many times she has seen them imposed. Lets just say that in Florida, they should be as common as squashed armadillos on Florida highways. Instead, you’re probably more likely to step in Florida panther shit than you are to see § 57.105 sanctions (there are 20-30 panthers left in the wild). And, if the party that stands to lose is represented by someone who donated to the judge’s election campaign, you might as well be talking about stepping in unicorn shit, dropped from a leprechaun blimp flying over a magic candy rainbow.

The Florida legislature can do whatever it wants to try and deter frivolous defamation claims. The rubber hits the road in Florida’s courthouses, and its elected judiciary is not very likely to deviate from how it has done things since before the days of air conditioning.

Therefore, unless Florida has an Anti-SLAPP law that provides for an interlocutory appeal with de novo review, it may as well not have one at all. The text of the current versions of the bill suggests the possibility that it could have such review, but it is not at all clear.

That all said, lets not take anything away from Senators David Simmons and Don Gaetz (both Republicans) or Democratic Representative Jared Moskowitz. The bill might not be perfect, and it might be doomed to irrelevance in most courthouses across the state. But, it is at least a step in the right direction from the last state in the union that I ever expected to do the right thing.


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