WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - A legal war between former Clinton adviser - and Fox News contributor - attorney Lanny Davis and 3M Co. continues with a new shot fired by the business giant.
3M asked the court on Nov. 1 to strike Davis's special motion to dismiss a lawsuit it filed against Davis.
The company sued Davis Aug. 24 in the U.S. District Court for Washington D.C., claiming that he and others conspired to unlawfully coerce 3M into paying tens of millions of dollars in a United Kingdom breach of contract case.
Alleged coercion included a public relations campaign by Davis that 3M claims "featured a barrage of disparaging and defamatory statements." 3M's allegations stem from a breach of contract lawsuit Davis's clients filed in London against 3M Company in late 2008.
Last week, 3M also requested that the court permit it to conduct discovery so it can respond to Davis's assertion in an "anti-SLAPP" claim that 3M is not likely to succeed on the merits of its claims.
Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) are ones intended to silence critics by burdening them with costly litigation until the criticism stops.
3M's lawyers say that Davis's motion is "notable for its glaring lack of substance. Although its purple prose and factual liberties might be typical press kit fare, the Special Motion is simply wrong on the legal issues and misleading at best as to the allegations and facts actually before this Court."
3M's lawyers maintain that it is unnecessary for the court to consider merits because the anti-SLAPP statute was beyond the power of the District of Columbia city council and that even if it did a federal court cannot enforce because it would violate the rules of civil procedure.
3M contends that if the court does not strike the special motion, then it cannot "adequately respond to Davis's contention that it is not likely to succeed on the merits of its claims without first being given the opportunity to obtain certain limited and specific discovery."
3M was not permitted to take discovery before the special motion was filed and Davis refused 3M's request to do so outside of court intervention, according to court documents. 3M claims that since other federal courts have ruled discovery is granted in response to motions to dismiss under state anti-SLAPP laws, it should apply in this case.
Blank Rome of Washington, Davis's attorneys, in October filed the anti-SLAPP motion to seek a ruling that 3M had attempted to thwart his right to speak on an important public health matter by filing a tactical lawsuit.
Raymond Mullady, on behalf of Davis, said in a prepared statement, "We believe 3M's motions to strike and cross-motion for discovery are meritless, and will explain why in the reply papers we file with the court."
In its discovery requests, 3M is asking for relevant communications documents between all those involved in the litigation. It also wants to depose Davis and the others.
Court documents further indicate 3M wants to know of communications Davis may have had with third parties who are not directly a part of the litigation but who are related to it.
3M also wants to know how Davis and others arrived at their conclusion that the company's lawsuit would not succeed.