On December 19 the District of Columbia Court of Appeals dismissed as moot an appeal by National Review and Competitive Enterprise Institute of the trial court’s denial of a motion to dismiss, on the grounds that a motion to dismiss an amended defamation complaint filed by Dr. Mann is still pending before Judge Weisberg in DC Superior Court. In this latest development in the procedurally somewhat tangled case, the Court of Appeals made no ruling on the substance of the defamation case.
Dr. Mann had filed an amended complaint shortly after the hearing on the Defendants’ motion to dismiss. So, as for the next step in the case, now that the Court of Appeals has mooted the Defendants’ arguably frivolous abuse of process appeal, trial court Judge Weisberg needs to rule on the Defendants’ motion to dismiss Dr. Mann’s amended complaint. If the trial court denies that motion (or any portion of it) it’s likely that Defendants will appeal to the Court of Appeals again at that point.
The briefs filed by the ACLU and the Reporters Committee, referenced in the Court of Appeals December 19 ruling, were with respect to a jurisdictional question — i.e., whether the denial of a motion to dismiss under the District of Columbia anti-SLAPP law is immediately appealable (or whether Defendants would have to wait until the end of proceedings before the trial court to appeal). The Court of Appeals didn’t rule on this jurisdictional issue.
Also see the discussion at Rabett Run: The Appeals Fairy Declines Jurisdiction
Earlier posts on the case: