About the Case


The MFIA Clinic provides pro bono legal services to support the work of independent journalists. It agreed to take on Nancy Chapman’s case when she was sued by a local politician for publishing information about his past arrest. The Clinic prepared a motion to have D’Amelio’s case dismissed under Connecticut’s recently enacted Act Concerning Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation (the Connecticut “Anti-SLAPP” statute). The Anti-SLAPP law was written specifically to stop this kind of vindictive litigation that is often brought against individuals for exercising their free speech rights. It provides defendants like Chapman with a fast-track path to have retaliatory lawsuits dismissed, and entitles them to recover costs and fees for their trouble. The clinic’s motion contended that the claims against Ms. Chapman are barred by Connecticut’s “fair report” privilege, which shields individuals from liability when they accurately report information obtained from public records. The motion explains that even if the claims against Chapman weren’t barred by the fair report privilege, they’d fail under Connecticut state tort law and would, in any event, be covered by the federal First Amendment.

 

Key Documents

Complaint 

City Motion to Strike

Chapman's Memo in Support of Special MTD

Chapman Affidavit