Commercial Division Blog

Posted: September 23, 2022 / Written by: Jeffrey M. Eilender, Samuel L. Butt, Christopher R. Dyess, Joshua Wurtzel, Hillary S. Zilz / Category Commercial Division Justices

Fee Recovery Allowed Against a Foreign Party Where Party’s SLAPP Suit Was Dismissed

On September 15, 2022, Justice Schecter of the New York County Commercial Division issued a decision in Moby S.P.A. v. Stanley, 2022 NYLJ LEXIS 1241 holding that where a foreign plaintiff filed a baseless anti-SLAPP suit that was dismissed, the prevailing party could recover attorney’s fees, stating:

Civil Rights Law §70-a(1)(a) provides that "costs and attorney's fees shall be recovered" when, as here, the court [*2] grants a motion pursuant to CPLR 3211(g). This is a procedural rule (Brady v. NYP Holdings, Inc., 2022 WL 992631, at *11 [SDNY Mar. 31, 2022], citing La Liberte v. Reid, 966 F3d 79, 87 [2d Cir 2020]; see Zervos v. Trump, 171 AD3d 110, 130 [1st Dept 2019]). That other parts of the statute, such as §§70-a(1)(b) and 76- a(2), may be substantive does not change the nature of §70-a(1)(a)'s procedural feeshifting rule. The statute's application here is not impermissibly extraterritorial. Section 76-a(1) was amended to broadly define "action involving public petition and participation" to include "any lawsuit" in which the claim is based upon "any communication" of the sort set forth in the statute (Aristocrat Plastic Surgery, P.C. v. Silva, 206 AD3d 26, 29 [1st Dept 2022] [emphasis added]). Plaintiff is obligated to pay Di Meo's fees is because it filed a baseless SLAPP suit in this court.

Here, moreover, all of the claims asserted against Di Meo involved allegations implicating the anti-SLAPP statute, such as attempting to undermine the restructuring by, among other things, filing the Involuntary Petition and TRO (see Dkt. 1 at 47-55).

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