Getting SLAPPed: A 21st Century Business Risk

34 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2015 Last revised: 12 Jul 2016

See all articles by Brenda Wells

Brenda Wells

East Carolina University

Chad G. Marzen

Florida State University

Date Written: July 2, 2015


The topic of a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is of critical interest to every business as the internet and social media have become common tools both for business and for its critics. The SLAPP risk is a double-edged sword. A business can be “SLAPPed” by another party — sued for speaking out against or about that person or entity. And, at the same time, a business might ultimately be accused of “SLAPPing” someone it sues for defamation.

Understanding the implication of SLAPPs is critical in today’s internet environment. This article defines SLAPPs, discusses their history, examines legal issues relating to SLAPPs and insurance issues, presents risk management implications for businesses, and offers practical loss control solutions for those who are criticized online as well as those who wish to publish criticism or become active in some sort of public issue debate.

Suggested Citation

Wells, Brenda and Marzen, Chad G., Getting SLAPPed: A 21st Century Business Risk (July 2, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Brenda Wells

East Carolina University ( email )

Greenville, NC 27858
United States

Chad G. Marzen (Contact Author)

Florida State University ( email )

College of Business
Tallahassee, FL 32306
United States

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