Exploring New Approaches to Unsettled Legal Questions

Tag: Civil Procedure

A SLAPP in the Face: How State Anti-SLAPP Statutes Can Still Apply in Federal Courts Exercising Diversity Jurisdiction

by Conner Kozisek*

A Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (“SLAPP”) is a meritless lawsuit designed to chill constitutionally protected speech, thereby posing a dangerous threat to First Amendment rights. To challenge the chilling effects of SLAPP suits, more than 30 states and the District of Columbia have adopted anti-SLAPP legislation, many of which create a special motion to strike a claim based on a defendant’s speech in furtherance of their First Amendment rights. Because there is no federal anti-SLAPP legislation, the federal judiciary is divided on whether anti-SLAPP laws should apply in federal courts exercising diversity jurisdiction, especially in the wake of the Court’s fractured opinion in Shady Grove Orthopedic Associates v. Allstate Insurance Co. This Contribution argues that federal courts sitting in diversity should apply the approach set forth in Justice Stevens’s Shady Grove concurrence to recognize the potential substantive rights created by or protected through anti-SLAPP legislation.

Applicability of the PSLRA Automatic Discovery Stay in State Courts

by Catherine Willis*

The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (“PSLRA”), 15 U.S.C. § 77z-1(b)(1), provides that discovery should be automatically stayed in Securities Act actions at the motion to dismiss stage. Though Securities Act claims may be brought in either state or federal courts, courts are divided over whether the PSLRA discovery stay applies in both state and federal court or solely applies in federal court. This Contribution argues that the PSLRA discovery-stay provision should apply in any action under the Securities Act, regardless of venue.

The Buck Stops Here: The Limits of Bankruptcy Court Jurisdiction Post-Confirmation

by Michael Murray*

May bankruptcy courts assume “related to” jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1334(b) over a post-confirmation successor liability suit when the estate’s assets have already been disbursed? Michael Murray (’17) examines this question, based on his experience at the 2016 Duberstein Moot Court Competition, sponsored by St. John’s University School of Law. His Contribution analyzes the legal landscape of “related to jurisdiction” in bankruptcy courts. Ultimately, the Contribution proposes that the Seventh Circuit has adopted the clearest interpretation of the statute and reasonably limits “related to” jurisdiction to disputes in which either the debtor is a party or the dispute affects the amount or distribution of the debtor’s estate.

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