Judge seeks review of anti-SLAPP law
MACHIAS, Maine — In November, when Justice Kevin Cuddy tossed out an election-tampering lawsuit filed in Washington County Superior Court by national activist Ralph Nader, he said he was compelled to dismiss the case based on Maine’s anti-SLAPP law.
But now, in a four-page order issued Dec. 28, Cuddy is stating that Maine’s anti-SLAPP law, which was intended to curb frivolous lawsuits, needs further review by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Only three cases concerning the anti-SLAPP law have ever been reviewed by the state supreme court, and in his ruling Cuddy said “significant questions” will need to be answered by the court during an appeal.
In his order, Cuddy wrote, the claims filed by plaintiff Ralph Nader “warranted further analysis and development through the evolution of normal civil litigation process,” but were dismissed in November based on Cuddy’s conclusion that Maine’s anti-SLAPP statute required that he do so.
Thus, Cuddy wrote, this case “raises significant questions concerning the appropriate judicial interpretation” of the anti-SLAPP statute.
An appeal in the Nader case is pending before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.