Mullen v. Meredith Corp.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Tort Law
  • Date Filed: 06-17-2015
  • Case #: A149990
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Ortega, P.J. for the Court; Duncan, J.; & DeVore, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Oregon's Anti-SLAPP statute, ORS 31.150, gives defendants ground to strike a civil claim when their conduct was in furtherance of the exercise of the constitutional right of free speech in connection with a public issue or issue of public interest, even if that conduct is not necessary to the exercise of free speech.

Meredith Corporation appealed a judgment denying Meredith’s motion to strike three tort claims under ORS 31.150, Oregon’s Anti-SLAPP statute. Meredith argued that the conduct expressed by Meredith was covered under ORS 31.150(2)(d), which protects… [a]ny… conduct in furtherance of the exercise of… the constitutional right of free speech in connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest. Meredith argued that because it was doing a news report the conduct involved was a furtherance of the exercise of free speech connected to an issue of public interest. The trial court disagreed, siding with Mullen, and stated that the issue was whether Meredith’s showing of Mullen on television, rather than running the same story without showing him, constitute a matter of public interest. The Court disagreed with this application of the statute. The Court argued that because the statute contains the word “furtherance,” and not the words “necessary too,” that the trial court’s narrow analysis is an incorrect application of the statute. Since the Court found that Meredith met its burden to make the motion to strike the claim, the Court then looked at whether Mullen had a probability of prevailing on his claims. The Court found Mullen didn’t. Reversed and remanded, with instructions granting the motion to strike.

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