Davis' motion to dismiss 3M defamation suit denied

Michael P. Tremoglie Feb. 3, 2012, 11:35am


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - Former Clinton adviser Lanny Davis lost the latest round in the ongoing legal battle he is waging with 3M.

The company's defamation claims against Davis will go forward. The U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., ruled Thursday against the motion to dismiss by Davis.

3M's law firm, Bickel and Brewer, said that the federal court, in a matter of first impression, rejected Davis' attempt to use the District of Columbia's Anti-SLAPP Act (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) in federal court. Davis and his attorneys had argued that 3M's defamation claim lacked merit. They filed a motion on Oct. 6 seeking to have the case dismissed under the anti-SLAPP Act.

The Attorney General for the District of Columbia later intervened in the litigation. He defended the use of the Act in federal court. The Act is intended to protect citizens against lawsuits designed to chill free speech. The court agreed with 3M's position -- and rejected the argument that the Act applies in federal court.

"Our client looks forward to pursuing its defamation claims against Mr. Davis," says William A. Brewer III, partner at Bickel & Brewer and lead counsel for 3M. "We are eager to conduct discovery on these claims - and bring this case to trial as quickly as possible."

Thursday's opinion stems from an amended complaint filed in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 9 against Davis and other defendants. 3M alleged that Davis and his co-defendants had engaged in a defamatory media blitz against the company. The public relations campaign was allegedly was intended to pressure 3M into paying tens of millions of dollars to Claimants in litigation proceedings in London. Those trial proceedings, which occurred in summer 2011, related to 3M's efforts to market BacLite, a product it acquired from Acolyte Biomedica Limited in 2007. The High Court in London issued a judgment in favor of 3M on virtually every important issue of the dispute on November 7, 2011 according to Bickel and Brewer.

"The attempts by Mr. Davis to disparage 3M had no impact on the company's belief in its legal position - and his conduct will now become the subject of further proceedings," Brewer said. "We look forward to the opportunity to bring all of the facts of this case into full public view."

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