City Desk

City Paper Seeks Dismissal of Dan Snyder’s Lawsuit

Washington City Paper Seeks Dismissal of Dan Snyder's Suit

When Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder sued Washington City Paper's parent companies in February in New York courts over "The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder," we said the suit had no merit. When Snyder dropped the New York case and moved it to D.C. courts in April, suing City Paper and staff writer Dave McKenna, we said it still had no merit.

Today, we're asking a judge to agree with us.

Our lawyers just filed papers under the District's anti-SLAPP law, which the D.C. Council passed in December and which took effect in early April. Among other purposes, the law is designed to protect news organizations against lawsuits intended to intimidate them out of writing about public figures. The law requires the case to be dismissed unless Snyder can prove that he is "likely to succeed" on the merits of his complaint.

As our court filing puts it:

Not only has [Snyder] publicly acknowledged the improper purposes that in fact undergird this litigation, but his ever-shifting explication of why the Commentary is allegedly actionable in defamation further reveals his lawsuit for what it is—a pretext for punishing and silencing his critics. As demonstrated in the materials accompanying this motion, Mr. Snyder has moved from complaining publicly about statements that, on inspection, appear nowhere in the Commentary; to suing over artwork that any first-year law student knows is not the proper basis for a defamation action; to his current Complaint, which wrenches out of context substantially accurate accounts of his prior conduct, themselves drawn from the voluminous archives of public records and previously published press accounts that document his public life, and ascribes to them allegedly defamatory meanings that no reasonable reader would credit. Simply put, Mr. Snyder cannot demonstrate that it is even arguable he can succeed on the merits of his current claims, much less that he is, as the Anti-SLAPP Act requires, likely to do so.

Read the motion, and a memorandum of law supporting it, below. If you're having trouble viewing the files on our site, view them here.

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An affidavit supporting the motion is here:

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And the 204 exhibits we filed with the court are here, in four parts:

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For information on City Paper's legal defense fund, click here.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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  • Randy Jackson

    Dan Snyder's behavior is almost enough to turn me into a Dallas fan.

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  • Jesse

    Kudos to your attorneys--that's a great brief. I'm really looking forward to reading Snyder's opposition.

    Also, I'm assuming (perhaps without justification) that Snyder will eventually figure out that this suit is going to be toast and try to slink away. I implore you not to settle, even if Snyder offers to pay the full amount of your attorneys' fees (especially since you're going to recover them all anyway).

  • FMJohnson

    Congratulations and good luck.

  • BJohnson

    I actually find it quite humorous. These journalists like Dave McKenna have been bashing and trashing Snyder for years. The attacks on Snyder have been relentless. Snyder finally decides to swing back, and these journalists cry like babies. Sure, Snyder has made some mistakes during his tenure as owner of the Redskins. But he has publicly acknowledged and apologized to fans for those prior mistakes. So I ask you, who demonstrates more questionable character? A man who makes a mistake and repents? Or… a man (or newspaper) whose sole and relentless agenda is to make endless attempts to humiliate that person publicly for his (or the newspapers) own profit or gain? Some should take some time and give that some serious thought.

  • grubscout65

    bjohnson.....brad is that you? didn't you end up in Tampa. don't be angry - we should have kept you. but seriously repented - as they say, "pull the other one."

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  • Truth Hurts

    From day one, it's been obvious to everyone but Snyder that his suit is frivolous. Shame on his lawyers for pursuing it this far .... they've done good lawyers a disservice. No wonder so many people hold lawyers in low esteem.

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  • noodlez

    @BJohnson-WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT???? SNYDER APOLOGY? PRIOR MISTAKES? WHAT ABOUT THE CURRENT FUCK UPS?

    YO NUTHUGGER YOU MUST HAVE A RIGHT GOOD GRIP ON THOSE SUNFLOWER SEEDS THAT ARE SNYDER'S BALLS! SNYDER NEVER SHOWED THE COJONES THAT IT TAKES FOR THE SKINS TO BE A WINNING FRANCHISE! OTHER THAN BRINGING BACK JOE G. EVERYONE OF HIS MOVES HAS BEEN ASININE. MAYBE IF HE WERE ON THE DC COUNCIL HE WOULD HAVE GOT AWAY WITH ALL THE SHIT HE PULLED WITHOUT RECOURSE. SLIM THESE ARE OUR 'SKINS HE IS FUCKING UP.

    SKINS FANS ARE TRUE FOOTBALL FANS! WE WOULD HAVE UNDERSTOOD IF HE CHOSE TO REBUILD TEAM FROM SCRATCH AFTER THE NUMEROUS FAILED HIRES(INCLUDING CURRENT HEAD COACH), DUMB FOOTBALL MOVES IN SIGNING OVER PRICED NO GAME LEFT FREE AGENTS AND IDIOTIC ADMIN MOVES(WHAT KIND OF PERSON WOULD STOP FOLK FROM WALKING TO THE STADIUM?)

    MCKENNA DIDNT MAKE ANY OF THAT SHIT UP HE REPORTED. ALL OF IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED! NO ONE I HAVE SPOKE ON THIS SUBJECT (EVEN DALLAS FANS) HAVE YET TO EXPLAIN TO ME HOW SOMEONE CAN KICK THEM OWNSELF IN THE ASS THEN BLAME SOMEONE ELSE FOR LEAVING A BOOT PRINT ON THEIR BUTT?

    MAYBE IF SNYDER WOULD HAVE ACQUIESCED AND/OR HAD HIS CRACK TEAM PRINT A COMEDIC REBUTTLE THEN YOU WOULDNT SHOW HAVE TO SHOW YOUR IDIOCY AND YOUR TRUE NUT HUGGING SKILLS.

    SO DOES THE B. ACTUALLY STAND FOR BALLHUGGER? BALLHUGGER JOHNSON THAT’S CLASSIC.

  • 11th

    BJOHNSON, you are free to ask and encourage others to ask who is the better man, snyder or mckenna. that's great. unfortunately, that is not at all what the lawsuit that dan snyder brought is about. your post is a lame attempt at distraction from the real important issue: a rich guy trying to bully the press. even if the city paper is a muckracking meanie for going after snyder, that doesn't matter. what they've written is materially true. if dan had a problem based on "who is the better person" or if he wanted to criticize the paper in a substantive, meaningful way, he should have found a venue to do that. a court of law is not that venue. so BS. the only actual slander i've seen in this whole mess was dan's repeated showboating claims that the city paper made fun of his wife having cancer, something that never happened and is in fact injurious to claim. you can BS a ton owning a football team, but you're going to have that shit thrown in your face in the court.

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  • dollarsnsense

    So, if WCP, a company, is asking for money from the general public, can you at least show us a running tally of your legal expenses to date. (You can probably find a widget to help display your legal expenses to date.)

    And why are we contributing to a fund when you are "well-prepared to fight [the lawsuit]," you're likely to recoup everything and then some once you are awarded fees and damages once you finish vigorously fighting this, and you've stated that donors aren't likely to see one dime of their money back? Since WCP will need to report and pay takes on this, it doesn't seem worth the donation that will be split with the IRS.

    Wouldn't it be better for us to just make payments to your attorneys directly? You cannot be liable to the IRS for such direct payments. Which brings me back to the original question: what's the current damage? For that matter, what rate are your attorney's charging you by the hour and how many (are necessary to) work on this case? And how much does WCP have in reserves for this battle?

    A little of the transparency you rightfully demand from elected officials might actually be met with sympathy (or not) for your situation.

  • Grumpy

    Snyder has a small but loyal group of sack-holders who play down his deceit as though they fear getting cut out of the Will while fighting over who gets to wash his nuts next. Most of them post @ WAPO but a few make their way here.

    He's a foolish little troll, he's the 'Emperor's New Clothes', he's Benito Mussolini, he's another in the great line of narcissistic assholes who think they're smarter than everyone else when even the blind can see otherwise.

  • bobh

    I trust Snyder will prevail

  • Truth Hurts

    @ dollarsnsense: Nobody who regularly reads CP or has contributed to its legal defense fund gives a shit about your fake ass #9. Go spend your money on bully boy Snyder.

    And while you're with Danny boy, ask him why he'd rather use his millions on attys rather than a meritorious charity. I was a lifelong Skins fan ... until Snyder's recent idiocy.

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  • http://www.deadtreecrew.com The Mayor of FedEx Field

    This "paper" if you can even call it that, has been attacking Dan Snyder for years.

    Some attacks have merit, some were 100% made up.

    At the end of the day, he asked you to remove the false claims, and when you didnt, he sued you.

    A year from now, this website and "paper" wont even exist.

    Start looking for a job Mike Madden. Maybe you can be a beer vendor at FedEx, probably pays more.

  • Typical DC BS

    @The Mayor of FedEx Field: Aren't you the same guy that has to wipe Danny's ass after his constipation finally relents and he has to speed dial your number to have you hurry over?

  • Horatio

    Both Mayor's and BJohnson's IP addresses were traced back to Redskins Park.

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