The Washington City Paper fired back Friday in its ongoing legal battle with Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, filing a motion that seeks dismissal of Snyder’s defamation claim against the weekly publication.
Snyder sued City Paper and its parent company in February, claiming that a story about him in November was defamatory. The story, “The Cranky Redskins Fans Guide to Dan Snyder,” was an unflattering recounting of Snyder’s tenure as Redskins owner and as a businessman. He originally filed the suit in New York, but he refiled it in the District in April, adding the article’s author, Dave McKenna, as a defendant. (McKenna is an occasional freelance contributor to The Washington Post.) Snyder is seeking $1 million in general damages, plus unspecified punitive damages.
In its motion, filed Friday in D.C. Superior Court, City Paper based its request for dismissal of Snyder’s suit on a newly enacted District law that prohibits lawsuits designed to intimidate or silence critics. The law is aimed at so-called strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPP, which are suits that use the threat of costly litigation to coerce an opponent to stop criticism or public opposition.