Shapiro v. WeltAnnotate this Case
Howard Shapiro petitioned a New Jersey court to appoint him as conservator for his father. Respondents - Glen, Rhoda, Lynn, and Michelle Welt - opposed the petition. Howard and Jenna Shapiro (together, Appellants) filed a complaint alleging, inter alia, defamation for statements the Welts made on their website during the course of the conservatorship matter. The district court granted the Welts’ motion to dismiss, concluding that Appellants’ complaint was filed in an attempt to prevent a good-faith communication in connection with an issue of public concern under Nev. Rev. Stat. 41.637(4). The Supreme Court affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded, holding (1) section 41.637 is not unconstitutionally vague; (2) the district court must analyze statements made in relation to a conservatorship action under guiding principles enunciated in California law to determine if a statement is an issue of public interest under section 41.637(4); and (3) the district court must conduct a case-specific, fact-intensive inquiry that balances the underlying principles of the absolute litigation privilege as enunciated by Jacobs v. Adelson before determining whether a party has met their burden for proving a likelihood of success on the merits.