North American Expositions v. Corcoran

Plaintiff's Special Motion To Dismiss Under Anti-SLAPP Act


Under the guise of a declaratory judgment action, plaintiffs (collectively, “North American”) have brought this SLAPP suit as retribution for defendants (collectively, “Bayside”) speaking out on a highly charged political issue for which both parties have undertaken significant lobbying efforts. The hot button issue concerns whether North American can skirt the gate show ban at the new Boston Convention & Exhibition Center pursuant to its enabling act, St. 1997 c. 152, an issue recently editorialized in the Boston Globe and the subject of several bills before the Legislature. North American’s claims are grounded solely on Bayside’s protected petitioning activities under the anti-SLAPP statute, G.L. c. 231, § 59H. The petitioning activities complained of are (1) Bayside’s advocating its legal position on the political issue to a legislatively created community foundation, including elected officials who are on its board, and (2) its alleged threat to sue if North American attempts to skirt the enabling act. These petitioning activities are fundamental and constitutional rights of free speech and, as such, are fully protected under the anti-SLAPP law. Because this suit infringes on its petitioning activities, Bayside has filed a special motion to dismiss under the anti-SLAPP statute. North American cannot sustain its burden of overcoming the special motion to dismiss where this Court has ruled that Bayside’s interpretation of the political and statutory issue – whether the gate show prohibition applies to North American’s proposed show at the BCEC sponsored by the South Boston Community Development Foundation – is entirely meritorious. Accordingly, North American’s suit must be deemed a SLAPP, dismissed with prejudice, and the defendants awarded their attorneys’ fees and costs.

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Reference Info:Pleadings | State, 1st Circuit, Massachusetts | United States

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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