I’ve recently come to learn of a tactic taken to prevent dissemination of information. S.L.A.P.P. stands for Strategic Lawsuit against Public Participation. Wikipedia defines it as “lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition. … In the typical SLAPP, the plaintiff does not normally expect to win the lawsuit.” A Demand letter may be sent prior to a SLAPP. In a Demand letter the person/company is often put on notice that litigation may be filed against them unless they follow the requests outlined in the letter.
On Facebook I found a post in which the poster said him/herself and ~ 200 others had received Demand e mails from a dog food company. Specifically, it was requested that information be removed from the posters website. I had also heard that the same company sent a “Demand” letter to a veterinarian demanding removal of a link on the hospital’s website.
Personally I don’t think we hear much about these because they are effective. The individual receiving a threat of litigation doesn’t want to risk their house and savings in the defense of a lawsuit and so they comply. A company may also threaten to SLAPP a person’s employer claiming that the employee was acting on their behalf. Some states have laws regarding SLAPP suits to discourage them from being filed but others do not.
What do you think of companies that use litigation or threat of litigation to silence people?
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