Lafayette district court Judge Thomas Duplantier today deferred until Aug. 17 ruling on a Special Motion to Strike a defamation lawsuit filed against The Independent Weekly by former Stanford Group. Co. Vice President Tiffany Angelle. In the meantime, attorneys for both sides will be filing additional briefs and affidavits; Angelle’s counsel was advised by Duplantier to demonstrate how The Independent’s reporting on the collapse of Stanford Group Co. and Angelle’s role with the financial company has caused professional damages, and to demonstrate why Angelle is a private individual and not a public person.
The Independent is seeking to have the lawsuit thrown out and filed the Special Motion to Strike based on anti-SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) legislation adopted by Louisiana lawmakers in 1999. The legislation is designed to protect the media and citizens against lawsuits aimed at chilling free speech and inquiry in matters of public interest.