excerpt "The towing company's lawyer said that it was justified in removing Mr. Kurtz's car because the permit was not visible, and that the Facebook page was costing it business and had unfairly damaged its reputation.
Some First Amendment lawyers see the case differently. They consider the lawsuit an example of the latest incarnation of a decades-old legal maneuver known as a strategic lawsuit against public participation, or Slapp.
The label has traditionally referred to meritless defamation suits filed by businesses or government officials against citizens who speak out against them. The plaintiffs are not necessarily expecting to succeed — most do not — but rather to intimidate critics who are inclined to back down when faced with the prospect of a long, expensive court battle.
"I didn't do anything wrong," said Mr. Kurtz, who recently finished his junior year at Western Michigan University. "The only thing I posted is what happened to me."
Many states have anti-Slapp laws, and Congress is considering legislation to make it harder to file such a suit. The bill, sponsored by Representatives Steve Cohen of Tennessee and Charlie Gonzalez of Texas, both Democrats, would create a federal anti-Slapp law, modeled largely on California's statute.