In the latest update about this case, I had reported that the defendants (Cascio, Porte, Sony and Estate) were planning to file dismissal requests and anti- SLAPP motions. Recently both Cascio/Porte and Sony/ Estate have filed their motions.
Note: Sony/ Estate and Cascio/Porte have different lawyers and therefore filed two separate motions. In this blog post I’ll focus on Sony/ Estate’s demurrer and anti-Slapp motion as it is more detailed. Cascio/Porte motion pretty much repeats the same thing. Motion can be found at this link : https://www.scribd.com/doc/298495674/Sony-MJ-Estate-Antislapp-Motion
First a little reminder about what is SLAPP and Anti- SLAPP? As I have previously explained “Lawsuits brought to scare, harass and intimidate defendants or restraint of business is called SLAPP. The motions filed by the defendants against such cases are called anti-SLAPP. In this instance it means that the defendants are planning to argue that the MJ fan who brought this case doesn’t really expect to win the case but brought this case in attempt to silence and intimidate the defendants in order to prevent them from saying that the Cascio songs are performed by MJ. It is possible that the defendants will argue that saying MJ sang these songs are their constitutional right under freedom of speech.”
In order to succeed in their anti-SLAPP motion defendants will need to prove that the statements they made (and mentioned in the complaint) are protected under the right of free speech in connection with an issue of public interest.
The statements at issue here are Weitzman’s statement sent to the fan clubs, Sony Music’s statement (sent to the media), statement written at the back of the “Michael” album, statements in a video about the “Michael” album and Cascio’s statements at Oprah show. (See the end of this post for the above mentioned statements.)