Boston Partner Gareth Notis and Associate, Roy Bjorlin recently prevailed at the Massachusetts Appeals Court. The Court affirmed the trial court’s allowance of summary judgment in a defamation and MA Civil Rights action for the defendant, and a related judgment allowing attorney’s fees. The trial court allowed summary judgment on the grounds that the plaintiff’s claims against the defendant were barred by G.L. c. 231, § 59H, the anti-SLAPP statute. The plaintiff argued that the defendant waived her ability to use the anti-SLAPP statute because it was not asserted in a Special Motion to Dismiss within 60 days of the filing of the Complaint. The Court ruled that the trial court properly exercised its discretion in allowing the defendant to utilize the anti-SLAPP statute at the Summary Judgment stage because the source of the defamation as protected “petitioning activity” could only be isolated during discovery. The Court also affirmed the award of attorney’s fees to defendant because she promptly warned plaintiff of her intent to seek fees/costs after the defamation was clearly identified.