Being sued unfairly for expressions in the public interest costs thousands of dollars. Improper or bad faith lawsuits meant to bully, torment and terrify can result in serious mental injury.
Stop the lawsuits immediately with an innovative court application for Protection of Public Participation ( 3P Application). Before learning how to stop your unfair lawsuit let’s understand the purpose of the Protection of Public Participation Act (PPP Act).
Expressions on Matters of Public Interest
Critical comments on matters of public interest often conflict with powerful business interests. As a result, lawsuits such as defamation and breach of contract, are used to intimidate and silence critics. We however now have the Protection of Public Participation Act to help level the field.
An “expression” in the PPP includes the following communications:
- Public material such as articles, blogs, posts, and videos.
- Private communications such as emails, letters and social media.
- Indirect comments not directed at a specific person or entity such as an criticism of an industry, law, policy, or behaviour of a group of companies.
Expressions on matters of public interest can be made verbally or non-verbally such as pictures and videos.
The protection of free speech must however never be a cover for harmful expression. That includes expression that wrongfully harms reputational, business or personal interest of others.
The Unfair Lawsuit
These lawsuits are meant to silence critics. This type of lawsuit is referred to as strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP). Some examples include defamation, libel, slander, breach of contract, interference with contract or economic advantage, intentional infliction of emotional distress, conspiracy, nuisance, etc.
The goal of these lawsuits is not to win, but to intimidate a person or group for speaking out on matters of public interest.
The 3P Application to Stop the Unfair Lawsuit
This application must be made in accordance with the Supreme Court Civil Rules. 3P Application is short for, “Protection of Public Participation Application”. The purpose is to stop litigation meant to “gag” those who have spoken out on matters of public interest.
The 3p application for dismissal can be made at any time after the proceeding has commenced. Therefore, an applicant can apply before filing a Response to Civil Claim. Consulting a lawyer immediately after being served with a Notice of Civil Claim is therefore critical.
What to do if you are served with a Notice of Civil Claim? Call a lawyer immediately to consider having a 3P application filed. Civil rules only allowed a fixed time the file a Response.
Costs and Damages if Successful
If the court makes a dismissal order the applicant is entitled to legal costs of the application and in the unfair lawsuit. The contribution to legal fees are assessed on a full indemnity basis unless the court considers that assessment inappropriate in the circumstances.
If the court does not dismiss the lawsuit, the respondent is not entitled to costs on that application unless the court considers it appropriate.
The new pretrial remedy is meant to promote free expressions on matters of pubic interest.