October 25, 2018, Sacramento, CA – Today, Pamela Lopez filed an anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss in Sacramento County. The motion is in response to a defamation lawsuit by former state Assemblyman Matt Dababneh. Lopez is represented by Jean Hyams of the Bay Area workers’ rights law firm, Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams LLP.
The motion argues this is a “retaliatory and frivolous lawsuit, brought by a powerful former elected official and announced future candidate for Lt. Governor against one of the many women who has named him as a perpetrator of sexual assault.” Lopez is not only requesting the court grant this motion and strike the defamation suit but that Dababneh is required to pay her attorney’s fees.
“Survivors need to be able to tell their story and speak about their experience,” stated Lopez. “Too many women are victims of sexual harassment in the workplace and too many victims don’t come forward for fear of retaliation or that their voices won’t be heard. Lawsuits like this only perpetuate that fear.”
In December 2017, Lopez stepped forward to shine a light on a culture of sexual harassment in the California State Legislature and the reprehensible behavior she was personally subjected to at the hands of Dababneh. The California Legislature hired an independent investigator who interviewed 52 witnesses in addition to Lopez and substantiated her allegation. Upon appeal, the legislature upheld its decision.
“Speaking out about sexual harassment in the State Capitol and abusive conduct by an elected official is constitutionally protected speech,” said Hyams. “The law requires not only that Dababneh’s lawsuit is thrown out, but that he be sanctioned for this kind of retaliation.”
The TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund is generously providing funding for Lopez’s legal defense.
You can find a link to the motion here.
About Pamela Lopez
Pamela Lopez is a partner at K Street Consulting and a founder of Work Equity, which she established to empower survivors in the fight against workplace sexual harassment and assault. Work Equity seeks to empower and bring survivors together through a network of shared resources. As a survivor, Lopez hopes working to organize survivors across industries will drive change and give victims the support they need.