Thomas R. Burke successfully defended a detainee from Guatemala at a detention facility, who was sued by an immigration lawyer for slander and defamation. Specifically, the lawyer alleged that DWT's client called the lawyer a crook and warned against hiring him. The lawyer then went one step further and sued the client’s pro bono lawyer, alleging that she had made defamatory statements about him as well.
In August 2018, a Superior Court judge granted both defendants’ anti-SLAPP motions and dismissed the case. The judge found that the defendants’ alleged conduct “constitutes protected activity” under California’s anti-SLAPP law (a statute that protects free speech). “There is little room for doubt that the quality of legal representation provided to detained immigrants is a topic of public interest,” the judge said. Finding that the plaintiff did not have probability of prevailing on the merits of the case, the judge dismissed the case. Since then, the client’s request for asylum was also granted.