Anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation

Last updated 2017-06-11

A.R.S. § 12-751. Definitions

In this article, unless the context otherwise requires:


1. “Exercise of the right of petition” means any written or oral statement that falls within the constitutional protection of free speech and that is made as part of an initiative, referendum or recall effort or that is all of the following:


(a) Made before or submitted to a legislative or executive body or any other governmental proceeding.


(b) Made in connection with an issue that is under consideration or review by a legislative or executive body or any other governmental proceeding.


(c) Made for the purpose of influencing a governmental action, decision or result.


2. “Governmental proceeding” means any proceeding, other than a judicial proceeding, by an officer, official or body of this state and any political subdivision of this state, including boards and commissions, or by an officer, official or body of the federal government.


3. “Legal action” means any action, claim, cross-claim or counterclaim for damages that is based on the defendant’s exercise of the right of petition.


A.R.S. § 12-752. Strategic lawsuits against public participation; motion to dismiss

A. In any legal action that involves a party’s exercise of the right of petition, the defending party may file a motion to dismiss the action under this section. When possible, the court shall give calendar preference to an action that is brought under this subsection and shall conduct an expedited hearing after the motion is filed with the court and notice of the motion has been served as provided by court rule.


B. The court shall grant the motion unless the party against whom the motion is made shows that the moving party’s exercise of the right of petition did not contain any reasonable factual support or any arguable basis in law and that the moving party’s acts caused actual compensable injury to the responding party. In making its determination, the court shall consider the pleadings and supporting and opposing affidavits stating facts on which the liability or defense is based. At the request of the moving party, the court shall make findings whether the lawsuit was brought to deter or prevent the moving party from exercising constitutional rights and is thereby brought for an improper purpose, including to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation. If the court finds that the lawsuit was brought to deter or prevent the exercise of constitutional rights or otherwise brought for an improper purpose, the moving party is encouraged to pursue additional sanctions as provided by court rule.


C. The motion to dismiss may be filed within ninety days after the service of the complaint or, in the court’s discretion, at any later time on terms that the court deems proper.


D. If the court grants the motion to dismiss, the court shall award the moving party costs and reasonable attorney fees, including those incurred for the motion. If the court finds that a motion to dismiss is frivolous or solely intended to delay, the court shall award costs and reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party on the motion. For the purposes of this subsection, “costs” means all costs that are reasonably incurred in connection with a motion to dismiss pursuant to this section and includes filing fees, record preparation and document copying fees, documented time away from employment to confer with counsel or attend case related proceedings, expert witness fees, travel expenses and any other costs that the court deems appropriate.


E. This article does not:


1. Affect, limit or preclude the right of the moving party to any remedy otherwise authorized by law.


2. Apply to an enforcement action that is brought in the name of this state or a political subdivision of this state.


3. Create any privileges or immunities or otherwise affect, limit or preclude any privileges or immunities authorized by law.


4. Limit or preclude a legislative or executive body or a public agency from enforcing the rules of procedure and rules of order of the body or agency.


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Drafting Committee for Uniform Anti-SLAPP Act (or whatever it ends up being called), began project 2017 and hopes to submit final Uniform Act by 2020 -- see and note that any interested person can register as an Observer and attend and participate in meetings. The author of this website, Jay D. Adkisson, is the American Bar Association's Business Law Section Adviser to this Committee, and the originator of this Uniform Law Commission project.




2017.01.13 ... Minnesota Court Of Appeals Boots Clear And Convincing Anti-SLAPP Burden Of Proof

2015.8.29 ... A Call For A Uniform Anti-SLAPP Act





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