After just over a week of being down, Michael Crook’s main site has returned to the Web. Noticeably absent from the site is the blog and most other regularly updated content. However, Crook did provide some interesting updates on his case with the EFF.
On his EFF page, he says that a settlement in the case may only be “days away” and that they are negotiating on one of the proposed elements of the settlement and the “financial aspect” of it.
Most of the motion to strike is straightforward, debunking Crook’s claims with the standard arguments (protected speech, Crook as a public figure, etc.) but what is interesting is that the EFF is also attempting to get the counterclaim stricken as a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).
A SLAPP is basically a lawsuit filed to silence otherwise protected speech. The lawsuit is, generally, meritless but is designed to chill the speech by forcing the defendant to go through a long and expensive process to battle it. This not only hurts the recipient directly, but also serves to silence others out of fear that they too might be sued.
California’s anti-SLAPP statute was designed to short circuit this by allowing defendants to have such lawsuits stricken quickly and helping them recoup any money they spent in defending it.
Should the counterclaim be stricken as a SLAPP, Crook would likely be liable for attorney fees related to dealing with it. This could be a major blow against Crook.
However, as Crook pointed out, it will all be a moot point if a settlement is reached quickly. Otherwise, it could play a major role in the future direction of the case.
It seems that there is a lot going on with this case and Ill keep updating this site as things develop.