Matthew M. WINGARD, Plaintiff-Respondent,
OREGON FAMILY COUNCIL, INC., an Oregon nonproft corporation, dba Oregon Family Council Issues PAC; Charles L. Starr; Jack A. Louman; Oregon Right to Life, an Oregon nonproft corporation; and Gayle Atteberry, Defendants-Appellants, and John DOE 1 and John Doe 2, Defendants.
and submitted November 3, 2017
County Circuit Court 16CV18238 Adrienne C. Nelson, Judge.
Bopp, Indiana, argued the cause for appellants. With him on
the briefs were Shawn M. Lindsay, Robert D. Scholz, and Megan
L. Ferris; and Corrine L. Purvis, Indiana.
R. Rask, III, argued the cause for respondent. With him on
the brief was Kell, Alterman & Runstein, L.L.P.
Ortega, Presiding Judge, and Armstrong, Judge, and Garrett,
appeal a limited judgment denying defendants' special
motion to strike under ORS 31.150, the "anti-SLAPP"
(Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) statute,
which they fled in response to plaintiff's defamation
action. Defendants argue that the trial court erred in
denying the [290 Or. 519] motion because plaintiff failed to
carry his burden under ORS 31.150(3) of showing a probability
that he would succeed on his claims.
Under the test for review of an anti-SLAPP motion that the
Oregon Supreme Court articulated in Handy v. Lane
County, 360 Or. 605, 385 P.3d 1016 (2016), plaintiff did
not meet his burden because he failed to present evidence
that would permit a reasonable trier of fact to find either
that defendants knew that their statements were materially
false or that they acted with reckless disregard as to the
statements' falsity. Accordingly, the trial court erred
in denying defendants' motion.
Or. 520] GARRETT, J.
an unsuccessful candidate in the 2016 primary election for
state representative, brought this action alleging that,
during that campaign, defendants published false statements
about plaintiff's prior sexual relationship with a
legislative aide. Plaintiff alleged claims for common-law
defamation and for violation of ORS 260.532 (prohibiting
certain false publications concerning a candidate). In
response, defendants filed a special motion to strike under
ORS 31.150, the "anti-SLAPP" statute. The trial
court entered a limited judgment denying the motion, and
raise four assignments of error. The first assignment, which
is dispositive, is that the trial court erred in denying the
anti-SLAPP motion because plaintiff failed to carry his
burden of showing a probability that he would succeed on his
claims. Applying the test for review of an anti-SLAPP motion
that the Supreme Court articulated in Handy v. Lane
County, 360 Or. 605, 385 P.3d 1016 (2016), which was
issued after the trial court's ruling in this case, we
agree with defendants that plaintiff did not meet his burden,
and that the trial court therefore erred in denying
defendants' motion. Accordingly, we reverse and remand.
the following facts from the pleadings and from the
supporting and opposing affidavits submitted to the trial
court, ORS 31.150(4), and we state them in the light most
favorable to plaintiff. Mullen ...