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Anti-SLAPP statutes: state summary


This research package presents information on state laws designed to protect victims of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, or “SLAPPs.”

Updated July 2006


24 states have anti-SLAPP statutes:

Arkansas Maine New York
California Maryland Oklahoma
Delaware Massachusetts Oregon
Florida Minnesota Pennsylvania
Georgia Missouri Rhode Island
Hawaii Nebraska Tennessee
Indiana Nevada Utah
Louisiana New Mexico Washington

1 territory has an anti-SLAPP statute:

Guam


Jurisdiction

Statutory Language
Arkansas

TITLE 16. PRACTICE, PROCEDURE, AND COURTS
SUBTITLE 5. CIVIL PROCEDURE GENERALLY
CHAPTER 63. PLEADINGS AND PRETRIAL PROCEEDINGS
SUBCHAPTER 5. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNMENT ACT
A.C.A. § 16-63-504 (2006)

§ 16-63-504. Immunity from suit

Any person making a privileged communication or performing an act in furtherance of the right of free speech or the right to petition government for a redress of grievances under the United States Constitution or the Arkansas Constitution in connection with an issue of public interest or concern shall be immune from civil liability, unless a statement or report was made with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false.

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California

CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE
PART 2. Civil Actions
TITLE 6. Pleadings in Civil Actions
CHAPTER 2. Pleadings Demanding Relief
ARTICLE 1. General Provisions

Cal Code Civ Proc § 425.16 (2004)

§ 425.16. Legislative findings; Special motion to strike action arising from "act in furtherance of person's right of petition or free speech under United States or California Constitution in connection with a public issue"

   (a) The Legislature finds and declares that there has been a disturbing increase in lawsuits brought primarily to chill the valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition for the redress of grievances. The Legislature finds and declares that it is in the public interest to encourage continued participation in matters of public significance, and that this participation should not be chilled through abuse of the judicial process. To this end, this section shall be construed broadly.

   (b)(1) A cause of action against a person arising from any act of that person in furtherance of the person's right of petition or free speech under the United States or California Constitution in connection with a public issue shall be subject to a special motion to strike, unless the court determines that the plaintiff has established that there is a probability that the plaintiff will prevail on the claim.

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Delaware

TITLE 10. COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEDURE
PART V. LIMITATION OF ACTIONS
CHAPTER 81. PERSONAL ACTIONS

10 Del. C. § 8136 (2004)

§ 8136. Actions involving public petition and participation

   (a) For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the meaning ascribed herein:

(1) An "action involving public petition and participation" is an action, claim, cross-claim or counterclaim for damages that is brought by a public applicant or permittee, and is materially related to any efforts of the defendant to report on, rule on, challenge or oppose such application or permission.

   (b) In an action involving public petition and participation, damages may only be recovered if the plaintiff, in addition to all other necessary elements, shall have established by clear and convincing evidence that any communication which gives rise to the action was made with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard of whether it was false, where the truth or falsity of such communication is material to the cause of action at issue.

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Florida

TITLE 45. TORTS
CHAPTER 768. NEGLIGENCE
PART I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Fla. Stat. § 768.295 (2004)

§ 768.295. Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) suits by governmental entities prohibited

(1) This section may be cited as the "Citizen Participation in Government Act."

(2) It is the intent of the Legislature to protect the right of Florida's citizens to exercise their rights to peacefully assemble, instruct their representatives, and petition for redress of grievances before the various governmental entities of this state as protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and s. 5, Art. I of the State Constitution. The Legislature recognizes that "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation" or "SLAPP" suits, as they are typically called, have increased over the last 30 years and are mostly filed by private industry and individuals. However, it is the public policy of this state that government entities not engage in SLAPP suits because such actions are inconsistent with the right of individuals to participate in the state's institutions of government. Therefore, the Legislature finds and declares that prohibiting such lawsuits by governmental entities will preserve this fundamental state policy, preserve the constitutional rights of Florida citizens, and assure the continuation of representative government in this state. It is the intent of the Legislature that such lawsuits be expeditiously disposed of by the courts.

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Georgia

TITLE 9. CIVIL PRACTICE
CHAPTER 11. CIVIL PRACTICE ACT
ARTICLE 3. PLEADINGS AND MOTIONS

O.C.G.A. § 9-11-11.1 (2002)

§ 9-11-11.1. Exercise of rights of freedom of speech and right to petition government for redress of grievances; legislative findings; verification of claims; definitions; procedure on motions; exception; attorney's fees and expenses

    (a) The General Assembly of Georgia finds and declares that it is in the public interest to encourage participation by the citizens of Georgia in matters of public significance through the exercise of their constitutional rights of freedom of speech and the right to petition government for redress of grievances. The General Assembly of Georgia further finds and declares that the valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and the right to petition government for a redress of grievances should not be chilled through abuse of the judicial process.

    (b) For any claim asserted against a person or entity arising from an act by that person or entity which could reasonably be construed as an act in furtherance of the right of free speech or the right to petition government for a redress of grievances under the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Georgia in connection with an issue of public interest or concern, both the party asserting the claim and the party's attorney of record, if any, shall be required to file, contemporaneously with the pleading containing the claim, a written verification under oath as set forth in Code Section 9-10-113. Such written verification shall certify that the party and his or her attorney of record, if any, have read the claim; that to the best of their knowledge, information, and belief formed after reasonable inquiry it is well grounded in fact and is warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law; that the act forming the basis for the claim is not a privileged communication under paragraph (4) of Code Section 51-5-7; and that the claim is not interposed for any improper purpose such as to suppress a person's or entity's right of free speech or right to petition government, or to harass, or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation. If the claim is not verified as required by this subsection, it shall be stricken unless it is verified within ten days after the omission is called to the attention of the party asserting the claim. If a claim is verified in violation of this Code section, the court, upon motion or upon its own initiative, shall impose upon the persons who signed the verification, a represented party, or both an appropriate sanction which may include dismissal of the claim and an order to pay to the other party or parties the amount of the reasonable expenses incurred because of the filing of the pleading, including a reasonable attorney's fee.

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Hawaii

DIVISION 4. COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS
TITLE 34. PLEADINGS AND PROCEDURE
[CHAPTER 634F]. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNMENT ACT

HRS § 634F-1 (2003)

[§ 634F-1]. Definitions

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

"Lacks substantial justification" means substantially frivolous, substantially groundless, or substantially vexatious.

"Public participation" means any oral or written testimony submitted or provided to a governmental body during the course of a governmental proceeding.

"SLAPP" means a strategic lawsuit against public participation and refers to a lawsuit that lacks substantial justification or is interposed for delay or harassment and that is solely based on the party's public participation before a governmental body.

[§ 634F-2]. Required procedures; motion

Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, including rules of court, upon the filing of any motion to dispose of a claim in a judicial proceeding on the grounds that the claim is based on, relates to, or involves public participation and is a SLAPP lawsuit:

    (1) The motion shall be treated as a motion for judgment on the pleadings, matters outside the pleadings shall be excluded by the court, and the court shall expedite the hearing of the motion;

    (2) The moving party shall have a right:

    (A) To an immediate appeal from a court order denying the motion; and

    (B) To file an application for a writ of mandamus if the court fails to rule on the motion in an expedited fashion;

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Indiana

TITLE 34. CIVIL LAW AND PROCEDURE
ARTICLE 7. GENERAL PROVISIONS
CHAPTER 7. DEFENSE IN CIVIL ACTIONS AGAINST PERSONS WHO ACT IN FURTHERANCE OF THE PERSON'S RIGHT OF PETITION OR FREE SPEECH UNDER THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OR THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF INDIANA IN CONNECTION WITH A PUBLIC ISSUE

Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 34-7-7-1 (2004)

§ 34-7-7-1. Applicability

    (a) This chapter applies to an act in furtherance of a person's right of petition or free speech under the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Indiana in connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest that arises after June 30, 1998. This chapter does not apply to an action that was filed and is pending before July 1, 1998.

34-7-7-2. "Act in furtherance of a person's right of petition or free speech" defined

As used in this chapter, "act in furtherance of a person's right of petition or free speech under the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Indiana in connection with a public issue" includes any conduct in furtherance of the exercise of the constitutional right of:

    (1) petition; or

    (2) free speech;

in connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest.

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Lousiana

LOUISIANA CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE
BOOK II. ORDINARY PROCEEDINGS
TITLE I. PLEADING
CHAPTER 4. WRITTEN MOTIONS

La. C.C.P. Art. 971 (2004)

Art. 971 Special motion to strike

    A. (1) A cause of action against a person arising from any act of that person in furtherance of the person's right of petition or free speech under the United States or Louisiana Constitution in connection with a public issue shall be subject to a special motion to strike, unless the court determines that the plaintiff has established a probability of success on the claim.

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Maine

TITLE 14. COURT PROCEDURE--CIVIL
PART 2. PROCEEDINGS BEFORE TRIAL
CHAPTER 203. PROCESS
SUBCHAPTER I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

14 M.R.S. § 556 (2003)

§ 556. Special motion to dismiss

When a moving party asserts that the civil claims, counterclaims or cross claims against the moving party are based on the moving party's exercise of the moving party's right of petition under the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of Maine, the moving party may bring a special motion to dismiss. The court shall advance the special motion so that it may be heard and determined with as little delay as possible. The court shall grant the special motion, unless the party against whom the special motion is made shows that the moving party's exercise of its right of petition was devoid of any reasonable factual support or any arguable basis in law and that the moving party's acts caused actual injury to the responding party. In making its determination, the court shall consider the pleading and supporting and opposing affidavits stating the facts upon which the liability or defense is based.

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Maryland

COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS
TITLE 5. LIMITATIONS, PROHIBITED ACTIONS, AND IMMUNITIES
SUBTITLE 8. IMMUNITIES AND PROHIBITED ACTIONS -- MISCELLANEOUS Md. COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS Code Ann. § 5-807 (2006).

§ 5-807. SLAPP suits

(a) SLAPP suit, defined. -- In this section, "SLAPP suit" means a strategic lawsuit against public participation.

(b) Nature. -- A lawsuit is a SLAPP suit if it is:

(1) Brought in bad faith against a party who has communicated with a federal, State, or local government body or the public at large to report on, comment on, rule on, challenge, oppose, or in any other way exercise rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution or Article 10, Article 13, or Article 40 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights regarding any matter within the authority of a government body;

(2) Materially related to the defendant's communication; and

(3) Intended to inhibit the exercise of rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution or Article 10, Article 13, or Article 40 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights.

(c) Scope of immunity. -- A defendant in a SLAPP suit is not civilly liable for communicating with a federal, State, or local government body or the public at large, if the defendant, without constitutional malice, reports on, comments on, rules on, challenges, opposes, or in any other way exercises rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution or Article 10, Article 13, or Article 40 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights regarding any matter within the authority of a government body.

(d) Remedies of defendant. -- A defendant in an alleged SLAPP suit may move to:

(1) Dismiss the alleged SLAPP suit, in which case the court shall hold a hearing on the motion to dismiss as soon as practicable; or

(2) Stay all court proceedings until the matter about which the defendant communicated to the government body or the public at large is resolved.

(e) Applicability. -- This section:

(1) Is applicable to SLAPP suits notwithstanding any other law or rule; and

(2) Does not diminish any equitable or legal right or remedy otherwise available to a defendant in a SLAPP suit.

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Massachusetts

PART III. COURTS, JUDICIAL OFFICERS AND PROCEEDINGS IN CIVIL CASES
TITLE II. ACTIONS AND PROCEEDINGS THEREIN
CHAPTER 231. PLEADING AND PRACTICE
ADVANCING CAUSES FOR SPEEDY TRIAL
SPEEDY TRIAL OF CERTAIN ACTIONS UNDER THE ELECTION LAWS

§ 59H. Special Motion to Dismiss Claim Based on Exercise of Constitutional Right of Petition; Stay of Discovery Pending Determination; Time for Filing Motion; Definition of Right.

In any case in which a party asserts that the civil claims, counterclaims, or cross claims against said party are based on said party's exercise of its right of petition under the constitution of the United States or of the commonwealth, said party may bring a special motion to dismiss. The court shall advance any such special motion so that it may be heard and determined as expeditiously as possible. The court shall grant such special motion, unless the party against whom such special motion is made shows that: (1) the moving party's exercise of its right to petition was devoid of any reasonable factual support or any arguable basis in law and (2) the moving party's acts caused actual injury to the responding party. In making its determination, the court shall consider the pleadings and supporting and opposing affidavits stating the facts upon which the liability or defense is based.

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Minnesota

Declaratory, Corrective and Administrative Remedies
CHAPTER 554 FREE SPEECH; PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNMENT

Minn. Stat. § 554.02 (2003)

554.02 Protection of citizens to participate in government

Subdivision 1. Applicability. This section applies to any motion in a judicial proceeding to dispose of a judicial claim on the grounds that the claim materially relates to an act of the moving party that involves public participation.

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Missouri

TITLE 36. STATUTORY ACTIONS AND TORTS (Chs. 521-538)
CHAPTER 537. TORTS AND ACTIONS FOR DAMAGES
LANDOWNER'S LIABILITY FOR RECREATIONAL USE OF LAND § 537.528, RSMo (2006).

§ 537.528. Actions for damages for conduct or speech at public hearings and meetings to be considered on expedited basis -- procedural issues

1. Any action seeking money damages against a person for conduct or speech undertaken or made in connection with a public hearing or public meeting, in a quasi-judicial proceeding before a tribunal or decision-making body of the state or any political subdivision of the state is subject to a special motion to dismiss, motion for judgment on the pleadings, or motion for summary judgment that shall be considered by the court on a priority or expedited basis to ensure the early consideration of the issues raised by the motion and to prevent the unnecessary expense of litigation. Upon the filing of any special motion described in this subsection, all discovery shall be suspended pending a decision on the motion by the court and the exhaustion of all appeals regarding the special motion.

2. If the rights afforded by this section are raised as an affirmative defense and if a court grants a motion to dismiss, a motion for judgment on the pleadings or a motion for summary judgment filed within ninety days of the filing of the moving party's answer, the court shall award reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred by the moving party in defending the action. If the court finds that a special motion to dismiss or motion for summary judgment is frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay, the court shall award costs and reasonable attorney fees to the party prevailing on the motion.

3. Any party shall have the right to an expedited appeal from a trial court order on the special motions described in subsection 2 of this section or from a trial court's failure to rule on the motion on an expedited basis.

4. As used in this section, a "public meeting in a quasi-judicial proceeding" means and includes any meeting established and held by a state or local governmental entity, including without limitations meetings or presentations before state, county, city, town or village councils, planning commissions, review boards or commissions.

5. Nothing in this section limits or prohibits the exercise of a right or remedy of a party granted pursuant to another constitutional, statutory, common law or administrative provision, including civil actions for defamation.

6. If any provision of this section or the application of any provision of this section to a person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this section that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this section are severable.

7. The provisions of this section shall apply to all causes of actions.

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Nebraska

CHAPTER 25. COURTS; CIVIL PROCEDURE
ARTICLE 21. ACTIONS AND PROCEEDINGS IN PARTICULAR CASES
(bb) PUBLIC PETITION AND PARTICIPATION

R.R.S. Neb. § 25-21,241 (2003)

§ 25-21,241. Legislative findings and declarations

The Legislature finds and declares that:

    (1) It is the policy of the state that the constitutional rights of citizens and organizations to be involved and participate freely in the process of government must be encouraged and safeguarded with great diligence. The information, reports, opinions, claims, arguments, and other expressions provided by citizens are vital to effective law enforcement, the operation of government, the making of public policy and decisions, and the continuation of representative democracy. The laws, courts, and other agencies of this state must provide the utmost protection for the free exercise of these petition, speech, and association rights;

    (2) Civil actions for damages have been filed against citizens and organizations of this state as a result of the valid exercise of their constitutional rights to petition, speech, and association. There has been a disturbing increase in such strategic lawsuits against public participation in government;

    (3) The threat of strategic lawsuits against public participation, personal liability, and burdensome litigation costs significantly chills and diminishes citizen participation in government, voluntary public service, and the exercise of these important constitutional rights. This abuse of the judicial process can and has been used as a means of intimidating, harassing, or punishing citizens and organizations for involving themselves in public affairs; and

    (4) It is in the public interest and it is the purpose of sections 25-21,241 to 25-21,246 to strike a balance between the rights of persons to file lawsuits for injury and the constitutional rights of persons to petition, speech, and association, to protect and encourage public participation in government to the maximum extent permitted by law, to establish an efficient process for identification and adjudication of strategic lawsuits against public participation, and to provide for costs, attorney's fees, and actual damages.

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Nevada

TITLE 3. REMEDIES; SPECIAL ACTIONS AND PROCEEDINGS
CHAPTER 41. ACTIONS AND PROCEEDINGS IN PARTICULAR CASES CONCERNING PERSONS
LIABILITY OF PERSON WHO ENGAGES IN RIGHT TO PETITION

NRS § 41.637 (2004)

§ 41.637. "Good faith communication in furtherance of the right to petition" defined

"Good faith communication in furtherance of the right to petition" means any:

    1. Communication that is aimed at procuring any governmental or electoral action, result or outcome;

    2. Communication of information or a complaint to a legislator, officer or employee of the Federal Government, this state or a political subdivision of this state, regarding a matter reasonably of concern to the respective governmental entity; or

    3. Written or oral statement made in direct connection with an issue under consideration by a legislative, executive or judicial body, or any other official proceeding authorized by law, which is truthful or is made without knowledge of its falsehood.

§ 41.650. Limitation of liability

A person who engages in a good faith communication in furtherance of the right to petition is immune from civil liability for claims based upon the communication.

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New Mexico

CHAPTER 38. TRIALS
ARTICLE 2. PLEADINGS AND MOTIONS

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 38-2-9.1 (2004)

§ 38-2-9.1. Special motion to dismiss unwarranted or specious lawsuits; procedures; sanctions; severability

    A. Any action seeking money damages against a person for conduct or speech undertaken or made in connection with a public hearing or public meeting in a quasi-judicial proceeding before a tribunal or decision-making body of any political subdivision of the state is subject to a special motion to dismiss, motion for judgment on the pleadings, or motion for summary judgment that shall be considered by the court on a priority or expedited basis to ensure the early consideration of the issues raised by the motion and to prevent the unnecessary expense of litigation.

§ 38-2-9.2. Findings and purpose

The legislature declares that it is the public policy of New Mexico to protect the rights of its citizens to participate in quasi-judicial proceedings before local and state governmental tribunals. Baseless civil lawsuits seeking or claiming millions of dollars have been filed against persons for exercising their right to petition and to participate in quasi-judicial proceedings before governmental tribunals. Such lawsuits can be an abuse of the legal process and can impose an undue financial burden on those having to respond to and defend such lawsuits and may chill and punish participation in public affairs and the institutions of democratic government. These lawsuits should be subject to prompt dismissal or judgment to prevent the abuse of the legal process and avoid the burden imposed by such baseless lawsuits.

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New York

CIVIL RIGHTS LAW
ARTICLE 7. MISCELLANEOUS RIGHTS AND IMMUNITIES

NY CLS Civ R § 70-a (2004)

§ 70-a. Actions involving public petition and participation; recovery of damages

    1. A defendant in an action involving public petition and participation, as defined in paragraph (a) of subdivision one of section seventy-six-a of this article, may maintain an action, claim, cross claim or counterclaim to recover damages, including costs and attorney's fees, from any person who commenced or continued such action; provided that:

(a) costs and attorney's fees may be recovered upon a demonstration that the action involving public petition and participation was commenced or continued without a substantial basis in fact and law and could not be supported by a substantial argument for the extension, modification or reversal of existing law;

(b) other compensatory damages may only be recovered upon an additional demonstration that the action involving public petition and participation was commenced or continued for the purpose of harassing, intimidating, punishing or otherwise maliciously inhibiting the free exercise of speech, petition or association rights; and

(c) punitive damages may only be recovered upon an additional demonstration that the action involving public petition and participation was commenced or continued for the sole purpose of harassing, intimidating, punishing or otherwise maliciously inhibiting the free exercise of speech, petition or association rights.

§ 76-a. Actions involving public petition and participation; when actual malice to be proven

    1. For purposes of this section:

(a) An "action involving public petition and participation" is an action, claim, cross claim or counterclaim for damages that is brought by a public applicant or permittee, and is materially related to any efforts of the defendant to report on, comment on, rule on, challenge or oppose such application or permission.

    2. In an action involving public petition and participation, damages may only be recovered if the plaintiff, in addition to all other necessary elements, shall have established by clear and convincing evidence that any communication which gives rise to the action was made with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard of whether it was false, where the truth or falsity of such communication is material to the cause of action at issue.

CIVIL PRACTICE LAW AND RULES
ARTICLE 32. ACCELERATED JUDGMENT

NY CLS CPLR R 3211 (2004)

R 3211. Motion to dismiss
(g) Standards for motions to dismiss in certain cases involving public petition and participation. A motion to dismiss based on paragraph seven of subdivision (a) of this section, in which the moving party has demonstrated that the action, claim, cross claim or counterclaim subject to the motion is an action involving public petition and participation as defined in paragraph (a) of subdivision one of section seventy-six-a of the civil rights law, shall be granted unless the party responding to the motion demonstrates that the cause of action has a substantial basis in law or is supported by a substantial argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law. The court shall grant preference in the hearing of such motion.

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Oklahoma

While this statute is not explicitly an anti-SLAPP statute, it does exempt from prosecution a wide range of communications made in a “proceeding authorized by law” which can be applicable in an anti-SLAPP case.

TITLE 12. CIVIL PROCEDURE
CHAPTER 25. LIBEL AND SLANDER

12 Okl. St. § 1443.1 (2004)

§ 1443.1. Privileged communication defined--Exemption from libel

    A. A privileged publication or communication is one made:

     First. In any legislative or judicial proceeding or any other proceeding authorized by law;

     Second. In the proper discharge of an official duty;

     Third. By a fair and true report of any legislative or judicial or other proceeding authorized by law, or anything said in the course thereof, and any and all expressions of opinion in regard thereto, and criticisms thereon, and any and all criticisms upon the official acts of any and all public officers, except where the matter stated of and concerning the official act done, or of the officer, falsely imputes crime to the officer so criticized.

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Oregon

TITLE 3. REMEDIES AND SPECIAL ACTIONS AND PROCEEDINGS
CHAPTER 31. TORT ACTIONS
SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE

ORS § 31.150

31.150. Special motion to strike; when available; burden of proof.

(1) A defendant may make a special motion to strike against a claim in a civil action described in subsection (2) of this section. The court shall grant the motion unless the plaintiff establishes in the manner provided by subsection (3) of this section that there is a probability that the plaintiff will prevail on the claim. The special motion to strike shall be treated as a motion to dismiss under ORCP 21 A but shall not be subject to ORCP 21 F. Upon granting the special motion to strike, the court shall enter a judgment of dismissal without prejudice.

(2) A special motion to strike may be made under this section against any claim in a civil action that arises out of:

    (a) Any oral statement made, or written statement or other document submitted, in a legislative, executive or judicial proceeding or other proceeding authorized by law;

    (b) Any oral statement made, or written statement or other document submitted, in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a legislative, executive or judicial body or other proceeding authorized by law;

    (c) Any oral statement made, or written statement or other document presented, in a place open to the public or a public forum in connection with an issue of public interest; or

    (d) Any other conduct in furtherance of the exercise of the constitutional right of petition or the constitutional right of free speech in connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest.

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Pennsylvania

PENNSYLVANIA CONSOLIDATED STATUTES
TITLE 27. ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES
PART VI. SANCTIONS AND REMEDIES
SUBPART C. IMMUNITY
CHAPTER 83. PARTICIPATION IN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW OR REGULATION

27 Pa.C.S. § 8302 (2004)

§ 8302. Immunity

    (a) GENERAL RULE.-- Except as provided in subsection (b), a person that, pursuant to Federal or State law, files an action in the courts of this Commonwealth to enforce an environmental law or regulation or that makes an oral or written communication to a government agency relating to enforcement or implementation of an environmental law or regulation shall be immune from civil liability in any resulting legal proceeding for damages where the action or communication is aimed at procuring favorable governmental action.

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Rhode Island

TITLE 9. COURTS AND CIVIL PROCEDURE--PROCEDURE GENERALLY
CHAPTER 33. LIMITS ON STRATEGIC LITIGATION AGAINST PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-33-1 (2004)

§ 9-33-1. Findings

The legislature finds and declares that full participation by persons and organizations and robust discussion of issues of public concern before the legislative, judicial, and administrative bodies and in other public fora are essential to the democratic process, that there has been a disturbing increase in lawsuits brought primarily to chill the valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition for the redress of grievances; that such litigation is disfavored and should be resolved quickly with minimum cost to citizens who have participated in matters of public concern.

§ 9-33-2. Conditional immunity

(a) A party's exercise of his or her right of petition or of free speech under the United States or Rhode Island constitutions in connection with a matter of public concern shall be conditionally immune from civil claims, counterclaims, or cross-claims. Such immunity will apply as a bar to any civil claim, counterclaim, or cross-claim directed at petition or free speech as defined in subsection (e) of this section, except if the petition or free speech constitutes a sham. The petition or free speech constitutes a sham only if it is not genuinely aimed at procuring favorable government action, result, or outcome, regardless of ultimate motive or purpose. The petition or free speech will be deemed to constitute a sham as defined in the previous sentence only if it is both:

    (1) Objectively baseless in the sense that no reasonable person exercising the right of speech or petition could realistically expect success in procuring the government action, result, or outcome, and

    (2) Subjectively baseless in the sense that it is actually an attempt to use the governmental process itself for its own direct effects. Use of outcome or result of the governmental process shall not constitute use of the governmental process itself for its own direct effects.

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Tennessee

TITLE 4. STATE GOVERNMENT
CHAPTER 21. HUMAN RIGHTS
PART 10. STRATEGIC LAWSUITS AGAINST POLITICAL PARTICIPATION

Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-21-1002 (2003)

4-21-1002. Legislative intent and findings

    (a) It is the intent of the general assembly to provide protection for individuals who make good faith reports of wrongdoing to appropriate governmental bodies. Information provided by citizens concerning potential misdeeds is vital to effective law enforcement and the efficient operation of government.

    (b) The general assembly finds that the threat of a civil action for damages in the form of a strategic lawsuit against political participation (SLAPP), and the possibility of considerable legal costs, can act as a deterrent to citizens who wish to report information to federal, state, or local agencies. SLAPP suits can effectively punish concerned citizens for exercising the constitutional right to speak and petition the government for redress of grievances.

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Utah

TITLE 78. JUDICIAL CODE
PART IX. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
CHAPTER 58. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNMENT ACT
Utah Code Ann. § 78-58-103 (2006).

§ 78-58-103. Applicability

(1) A defendant in an action who believes that the action is primarily based on, relates to, or is in response to an act of the defendant while participating in the process of government and is done primarily to harass the defendant, may file:

(a) an answer supported by an affidavit of the defendant detailing his belief that the action is designed to prevent, interfere with, or chill public participation in the process of government, and specifying in detail the conduct asserted to be the participation in the process of government believed to give rise to the complaint; and

(b) a motion for judgment on the pleadings in accordance with the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 12(c).

(2) Affidavits detailing activity not adequately detailed in the answer may be filed with the motion.

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Washington

TITLE 4. CIVIL PROCEDURE
CHAPTER 4.24. SPECIAL RIGHTS OF ACTION AND SPECIAL IMMUNITIES

Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 4.24.500 (2004)

§ 4.24.500. Good faith communication to government agency — Legislative findings — Purpose

Information provided by citizens concerning potential wrongdoing is vital to effective law enforcement and the efficient operation of government. The legislature finds that the threat of a civil action for damages can act as a deterrent to citizens who wish to report information to federal, state, or local agencies. The costs of defending against such suits can be severely burdensome. The purpose of RCW 4.24.500 through 4.24.520 is to protect individuals who make good-faith reports to appropriate governmental bodies.

§ 4.24.510. Communication to government agency or self-regulatory organization — Immunity from civil liability

A person who communicates a complaint or information to any branch or agency of federal, state, or local government, or to any self-regulatory organization that regulates persons involved in the securities or futures business and that has been delegated authority by a federal, state, or local government agency and is subject to oversight by the delegating agency, is immune from civil liability for claims based upon the communication to the agency or organization regarding any matter reasonably of concern to that agency or organization. A person prevailing upon the defense provided for in this section is entitled to recover expenses and reasonable attorneys' fees incurred in establishing the defense and in addition shall receive statutory damages of ten thousand dollars. Statutory damages may be denied if the court finds that the complaint or information was communicated in bad faith.

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Guam

Guam Code Annotated
Title 7 - Civil Actions
Division 2
Chapter 17 - Citizen Participation in Government Act
Guam Code Annotated Title 7, §§ 17101 - 17109 (2006).

§17104. Immunity. Acts in furtherance of the Constitutional rights to petition, including seeking relief, influencing action, informing, communicating and otherwise participating in the processes of government, shall be immune from liability, regardless of intent or purpose, except where not aimed at procuring any government or electoral action, result or outcome.

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Related

Federal court dismisses suit against Ind. TV station
Canadian pharmacy-benefits company had claimed it was defamed by WISH-TV report, but judge rules station is protected by state's anti-SLAPP law. 06.10.08


SLAPP suits


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