Superior Court Dismisses Anti-SLAPP Complaint Aimed at Arbitration

Last year, I blogged about the Wilkenfeld v. Steward Partners complaint filed in DC Superior Court, where Ari Wilkenfeld was asking the court to stop an arbitration from proceeding against him, because he believed the defamation claim therein was a SLAPP. I thought that Wilkenfeld would have a difficult time asking a Superior Court judge to use the DC anti-SLAPP statute to stop an arbitration. I was correct.

The defendants responded to Wilkenfeld’s Superior Court complaint with an extended brief, arguing that it failed for multiple reasons including: (1) the arbitrator had exclusive jurisdiction over the dispute; (2) the DC anti-SLAPP statute did not apply to a claim in arbitration; (3) the dispute was subject to Delaware law (pursuant to a choice-of-law provision in the arbitration agreement), and Delaware’s much narrower anti-SLAPP statute did not reach the conduct at issue here; (4) the suit did not arise from advocacy on issues of public interest; and (5) they were likely to prevail on the merits.

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