The Court of Appeals of Georgia recently turned aside an attempt to exploit Georgia’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) statute, handing a win to Bloom Parham clients Strategic Jubilee Holdings, LLC and Jubilee Manager, LLC (“Strategic Jubilee”). Strategic Jubilee filed claims for breach of contact, breach of fiduciary duty, and declaratory judgment seeking a ruling regarding rightful ownership of Jubilee Manager. The defendants filed a motion to strike under Georgia’s anti-SLAPP statute, arguing that the asserted claims arose from the defendants’ constitutionally protected activities. The trial court disagreed, ruling that Strategic Jubilee’s claims arose from a dispute over corporate governance and membership and were not subject to the anti-SLAPP statute.
The defendants filed an immediate appeal. On January 9, 2018, the Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the trial court’s decision. The appellate court’s opinion makes clear that the anti-SLAPP statute does not apply anytime there is a tangential connection between a lawsuit and constitutionally protected conduct but rather applies only when the claims alleged stem directly from the exercise of such rights.