Florida Appellate Court Addresses Standards for Anti-SLAPP

The Second District Court of Appeal issued an important opinion concerning the scope of Florida’s anti-SLAPP statute. There are two major takeaways from the opinion. First, the court considered the denial of defendant’s anti-SLAPP motion on an interlocutory appeal via its certiorari jurisdiction. This is a critical aspect of the opinion because Florida’s anti-SLAPP statute does not contain an explicit right to an immediate appeal.

Second, although the statute is silent with respect to burdens, the court recognized it encompasses an evidentiary burden-shifting to the Plaintiff. Specifically, the court found “[p]lacing the initial burden on the SLAPP defendant to set forth a prima facie case that the Anti-SLAPP statute applies and then shifting the burden to the claimant to demonstrate that the claims are not ‘primarily’ based on First Amendment rights in connection with a public issue and not ‘without merit’ serves the purpose of the statute and conforms with the procedures employed in considering other statutorily-based motions to dismiss.”

The court’s decision in Gundel v. AV Homes, Inc., can be found here: https://www.shullmanfugate.com/Gundel-v.-AV-Homes-Inc.pdf

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