HOWARD SHAPIRO; AND JENNASHAPIRO, Appellants/Cross-Respondents,
GLEN WELT; RHODA WELT; LYNNWELT; AND MICHELLE WELT, Respondents/Cross-Appellants. GLEN WELT; RHODA WELT; LYNNWELT; AND MICHELLE WELT, Appellants,
HOWARD SHAPIRO; AND JENNASHAPIRO, Respondents.
appeals and a cross-appeal from a district court order
granting a motion to dismiss complaint based on anti-SLAPP
statutes and the awarding of attorney fees and costs. Eighth
Judicial District Court, Clark County; Nancy L. Allf, Judge.
in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded with
and Alex B. Ghibaudo, Las Vegas, for Howard Shapiro and Jenna
Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, LLP, and
Michael P. Lowry, Las Vegas, for Glen Welt, Rhoda Welt, Lynn
Welt, and Michelle Welt.
Randazza Legal Group, PLLC, and Marc J. Randazza, Las Vegas,
for Amici Curiae Nevada Press Association; TripAdvisor, Inc.;
and Yelp, Inc.
CHERRY, C.J., DOUGLAS and GIBBONS, JJ.
appeal, we are asked to decide (1) whether NRS 41.637 is
unconstitutionally vague, (2) whether statements made in
relation to a conservatorship action constitute an issue of
public interest under NRS 41.637(4), and (3) whether those
statements fall within the scope of the absolute litigation
conclude that (1) NRS 41.637 is not unconstitutionally vague;
(2) the district court must analyze the statements under
guiding principles enunciated in California law to determine
if a statement is an issue of public interest; 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, 130 Nev.? Adv. Op. 44, 325 P.3d
1282, 1284 (2014), prior to determining whether a party has
met their burden for proving a likelihood of success on the
merits. Accordingly, we affirm in part, reverse in part,
vacate in part, and remand with instructions.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Howard Shapiro petitioned a New Jersey court to appoint him
as conservator for his father, Walter Shapiro. The
respondents, Glen Welt, Rhoda Welt, Lynn Welt, and Michelle
Welt, opposed the petition. During the course of the
conservatorship matter, Howard received an email from Glen
stating that Howard's "actions have been deemed
worthy of [his] own website" and declaring that Glen was
"personally inviting EVERY one of [Howard's] known
victims to appear in court along with other caretakers,
neighbors!, ] acquaintances [J and relatives [Howard]
threatened." The Welts published a website that
contained several allegations regarding Howard's past
debts, criminal history, and alleged mistreatment of his
father, in addition to Howard's personal information.
Further, the website stated that it is "dedicated to
helping victims of Howard Andrew Shapiro & warning
others" and encouraged any person "with knowledge
of Howard A. Shapiro's actions against Walter Shapiro or
other illegal acts committed by Howard Shapiro ... to appear
and Jenna Shapiro filed a complaint in Nevada alleging
various causes of action related to the Welts' statements
on the website. The Shapiros' causes of action included,
among other allegations, defamation per se, defamation,
extortion, civil conspiracy, and fraud. The Welts
subsequently filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to NRS
41.660, Nevada's anti-SLAPP statute. The Welts argued
that the website constituted a good-faith communication in
furtherance of the right to free speech in direct connection
with an issue of public concern pursuant to NRS 41.637.
Citing to NRS 41.637(3) and (4), the Welts argued that the
statements on the website were protected as statements made
in direct connection with an issue under consideration by a
judicial body and as communications made in direct connection
with an issue of public interest in a place open to the
public or in a public forum.
district court issued an order granting the Welts' motion
to dismiss. The district court concluded that the Welts met
their burden to show by a preponderance of the evidence that
the Shapiros' complaint was filed in an attempt to
prevent a good-faith communication in connection with an
issue of public concern. Specifically, the district court
concluded that the website was a "communication
regarding an ongoing lawsuit concerning the rights of an
elderly individual, and a matter of public concern under NRS
41.637(4)." Additionally, the district court concluded
that the Shapiros failed to show a probability that they
would prevail on the lawsuit. The district court relied on
this court's decision in Jacobs to conclude that
the Welts' statements would likely be protected by the
absolute litigation privilege.
district court subsequently issued an order granting the
Welts' attorney fees. The district court did not
explicitly address the Welts' request for an additional
award pursuant to NRS 41.670(1)(b).
Shapiros timely appealed the district court's order
granting the Welts' motion to dismiss, the Welts
cross-appealed that part of the district court's order
denying an additional award pursuant to NRS 41.670(1)(b), and
the Welts timely ...