Oklahoma Anti-SLAPP Laws Acts UPEPA
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Oklahoma Anti-SLAPP Acts & Laws
Last updated 2018-10-14
Cite as: Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act, 12 Okla.Stat. §§ 12-1430 et seq.
§12-1430. Short title - Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act.
A. This act may be known and shall be cited as the "Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act".
B. The purpose of the Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act is to encourage and safeguard the constitutional rights of persons to petition, speak freely, associate freely and otherwise participate in government to the maximum extent permitted by law and, at the same time, protect the rights of a person to file meritorious lawsuits for demonstrable injury.
As used in the Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act:
1. "Communication" means the making or submitting of a statement or document in any form or medium, including oral, visual, written, audiovisual or electronic;
2. "Exercise of the right of association" means a communication between individuals who join together to collectively express, promote, pursue or defend common interests;
3. "Exercise of the right of free speech" means a communication made in connection with a matter of public concern;
4. "Exercise of the right to petition" means any of the following:
a. a communication in or pertaining to:
(1) a judicial proceeding,
(2) an official proceeding, other than a judicial proceeding, to administer the law,
(3) an executive or other proceeding before a department or agency of the state or federal government or a political subdivision of the state or federal government,
(4) a legislative proceeding, including a proceeding of a legislative committee,
(5) a proceeding before an entity that requires by rule that public notice be given before proceedings of that entity,
(6) a proceeding in or before a managing board of an educational or eleemosynary institution supported directly or indirectly from public revenue,
(7) a proceeding of the governing body of any political subdivision of this state,
(8) a report of or debate and statements made in a proceeding described by division (3), (4), (5), (6) or (7) of this subparagraph, or
(9) a public meeting dealing with a public purpose, including statements and discussions at the meeting or other matters of public concern occurring at the meeting,
b. a communication in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a legislative, executive, judicial or other governmental body or in another governmental or official proceeding,
c. a communication that is reasonably likely to encourage consideration or review of an issue by a legislative, executive, judicial or other governmental body or in another governmental or official proceeding,
d. a communication reasonably likely to enlist public participation in an effort to effect consideration of an issue by a legislative, executive, judicial or other governmental body or in another governmental or official proceeding, and
e. any other communication that falls within the protection of the right to petition government under the Constitution of the United States or the Oklahoma Constitution;
5. "Governmental proceeding" means a proceeding, other than a judicial proceeding, by an officer, official or body of this state or a political subdivision of this state, including an agency, board or commission, or by an officer, official or body of the federal government;
6. "Legal action" means a lawsuit, cause of action, petition, complaint, cross-claim, counterclaim or any other judicial pleading or filing that requests legal or equitable relief;
7. "Matter of public concern" means an issue related to:
a. health or safety,
b. environmental, economic or community well-being,
c. the government,
d. a public official or public figure, or
e. a good, product or service in the marketplace;
8. "Official proceeding" means any type of administrative, executive, legislative or judicial proceeding that may be conducted before a public servant; and
9. "Public servant" means a person elected, selected, appointed, employed or otherwise designated as one of the following, even if the person has not yet qualified for office or assumed the person's duties:
a. an officer, employee or agent of government,
b. a juror,
c. an arbitrator, referee or other person who is authorized by law or private written agreement to hear or determine a cause or controversy,
d. an attorney or notary public when participating in the performance of a governmental function, or
e. a person who is performing a governmental function under a claim of right but is not legally qualified to do so.
§12-1432. Motion to dismiss legal actions – Time limit for filing – Suspension of discovery.
A. If a legal action is based on, relates to or is in response to a party's exercise of the right of free speech, right to petition or right of association, that party may file a motion to dismiss the legal action.
B. A motion to dismiss a legal action under this section shall be filed no later than sixty (60) days after the date of service of the legal action. The court may extend the time to file a motion under this section on a showing of good cause.
C. Except as provided in Section 6 of the Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act, on the filing of a motion under subsection A of this section, all discovery in the legal action shall be suspended until the court has ruled on the motion to dismiss.
§12-1433. Time limits for hearing on motion to dismiss.
A. A hearing on a motion filed pursuant to Section 3 of the Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act shall be set no later than sixty (60) days after the date of service of the motion unless the docket conditions of the court require a later hearing, upon a showing of good cause, or by agreement of the parties, but in no event shall the hearing occur more than ninety (90) days after service of the motion to dismiss, except as provided by subsection C of this section.
B. In the event that the court cannot hold a hearing in the time required by subsection A of this section, the court may take judicial notice that court docket conditions required a hearing at a later date, but in no event shall the hearing occur more than ninety (90) days after service of the motion to dismiss, except as provided by subsection C of this section.
C. If the court allows discovery under subsection B of Section 6 of this act, the court may extend the hearing date to allow discovery under that subsection, but in no event shall the hearing occur more than one hundred twenty (120) days after the service of the motion to dismiss.
§12-1434. Time limit for ruling on motion – Standard of proof.
A. The court shall rule on a motion filed pursuant to Section 3 of the Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act no later than thirty (30) days following the date of the hearing on the motion.
B. Except as provided by subsection C of this section, on the motion of a party filed pursuant to Section 3 of this act, a court shall dismiss a legal action against the moving party if the moving party shows by a preponderance of the evidence that the legal action is based on, relates to or is in response to the party's exercise of:
1. The right of free speech;
2. The right to petition; or
3. The right of association.
C. The court shall not dismiss a legal action under this section if the party filing the legal action establishes by clear and specific evidence a prima facie case for each essential element of the claim in question.
D. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection C of this section, the court shall dismiss a legal action against the moving party if the moving party establishes by a preponderance of the evidence each essential element of a valid defense to the nonmovant's claim.
§12-1435. Evidence to consider by court – Limited discovery.
A. In determining whether a legal action shall be dismissed under the Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act, the court shall consider the pleadings and supporting and opposing affidavits stating the facts on which the liability or defense is based.
B. On a motion by a party or on the court's own motion and on a showing of good cause, the court may allow specified and limited discovery relevant to the motion to dismiss.
§12-1436. Request for findings – Time limit to issue findings.
A. At the request of a party making a motion filed pursuant to Section 3 of the Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act, the court shall issue findings regarding whether the legal action was brought to deter or prevent the moving party from exercising constitutional rights and is brought for an improper purpose, including to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or to increase the cost of litigation.
B. The court shall issue findings under subsection A of this section no later than thirty (30) days after the date a request is made under subsection A of this section.
§12-1437. Failure to rule on motion – Expedited appeals.
A. If a court does not rule on a motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Section 3 of the Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act in the time prescribed by Section 5 of the act, the motion shall be considered denied by operation of law and the moving party may appeal.
B. An appellate court shall expedite an appeal or other writ, whether interlocutory or not, from a trial court order on a motion to dismiss a legal action filed pursuant to Section 3 of this act or from a trial court's failure to rule on that motion in the time prescribed by Section 5 of this act.
§12-1438. Costs and fees - Sanctions.
A. If the court orders dismissal of a legal action under the Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act, the court shall award to the moving party:
1. Court costs, reasonable attorney fees and other expenses incurred in defending against the legal action as justice and equity may require; and
2. Sanctions against the party who brought the legal action as the court determines sufficient to deter the party who brought the legal action from bringing similar actions described in the Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act.
B. If the court finds that a motion to dismiss filed under the Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act is frivolous or solely intended to delay, the court may award court costs and reasonable attorney fees to the responding party.
§12-1439. Actions excluded.
The Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act shall not apply to:
1. An enforcement action that is brought in the name of this state or a political subdivision of this state by the Attorney General or a district attorney;
2. A legal action brought against a person primarily engaged in the business of selling or leasing goods or services, if the statement or conduct the action is based upon arises out of the sale or lease of goods, services, or an insurance product, insurance services, or a commercial transaction in which the intended audience is an actual or potential buyer or customer;
3. A legal action seeking recovery for bodily injury, wrongful death or survival or to statements made regarding that legal action; or
4. A legal action brought under the Oklahoma Insurance Code or arising out of an insurance contract.
§12-1440. Application with other laws - Construction.
A. The Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act shall not abrogate or lessen any other defense, remedy, immunity or privilege available under other constitutional, statutory, case or common law or rule provisions.
B. The Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act shall be construed liberally to effectuate its purpose and intent fully.
§12-1441. Libel defined.
Libel is a false or malicious unprivileged publication by writing, printing, picture, or effigy or other fixed representation to the eye, which exposes any person to public hatred, contempt, ridicule or obloquy, or which tends to deprive him of public confidence, or to injure him in his occupation, or any malicious publication as aforesaid, designed to blacken or vilify the memory of one who is dead, and tending to scandalize his surviving relatives or friends.
§12-1442. Slander defined.
Slander is a false and unprivileged publication, other than libel, which:
1. Charges any person with crime, or with having been indicted, convicted or punished for crime.
2. Imputes in him the present existence of an infectious, contagious or loathsome disease.
3. Tends directly to injure him in respect to his office, profession, trade or business, either by imputing to him general disqualification in those respects which the office or other occupation peculiarly requires, or by imputing something with reference to his office, profession, trade or business that has a natural tendency to lessen its profit.
4. Imputes to him impotence or want of chastity; or,
5. Which, by natural consequences, causes actual damage.
§12-1443.1. 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.
B. No publication which under this section would be privileged shall be punishable as libel.
§12-1444.1. Pleading - Proof - Defenses.
In all civil actions to recover damages for libel or slander, it shall be sufficient to state generally what the defamatory matter was, and that it was published or spoken of the plaintiff, and to allege any general or special damage caused thereby. As a defense thereto the defendant may deny and offer evidence to disprove the charges made, or he may prove that the matter charged as defamatory was true and, in addition thereto, that it was published or spoken under such circumstances as to render it a privileged communication.
§12-1446a. Good faith in publishing libel - Retraction - Actual damages only - Jury question - Exceptions.
In an action for damages for the publication of a libel in a newspaper or periodical, if the evidence shows that the article was published in good faith and that its falsity was due to an honest mistake of the facts, and the question of "honest mistake" shall be a question of fact to be determined by a jury, unless a jury be waived by the parties, the plaintiff shall be entitled to recover actual damages only unless a retraction be requested and refused as hereinafter provided. The person claiming to have been libeled shall notify the publisher, either orally or in writing, stating or setting forth the particular matter claimed to be libelous and requesting that the same be retracted. If a retraction, headed "RETRACTION" in eighteen-point type or larger, be published on the same page and in the same type as were the statements complained of, in two regular issues of said newspaper or periodical, published within a reasonable time, but not to exceed two (2) weeks after such notice in a weekly newspaper, or not to exceed one (1) week in a daily newspaper, the publication of said retraction shall be full and complete satisfaction as to all other than actual damages, and the plaintiff shall not be entitled to recover other than actual damages on account of such erroneous published matter. If such a retraction be not so published, plaintiff may recover such damages as are provided by the statutes of this state, if his cause of action be maintained. This section shall not apply to any libel imputing unchastity to a woman; nor in any case in which the evidence shows the publication was made maliciously or with a premeditated intention and purpose to injure, defame or destroy the reputation of another or to injuriously alter a person's reputation; nor to anonymous communications or publications, and provided further that this section shall not apply to any article pertaining to any candidate for any public office when said article is published within three (3) weeks of the date of the primary, runoff primary, special or general election, as the case may be.
§12-1446b. "Newspapers" or "periodicals" defined.
Newspapers or periodicals shall, for the purpose of this act, be considered publications having admission to the mails as second class mail matter and having all the other qualifications of a legal newspaper as defined in Chapter 1, Article 1, Session Laws 1935.
§12-1447.1. Defamation by radio and television - Limitation of liability.
The owner, licensee or operator of a television and/or radio broadcasting station or network of stations, and the agents or employees of any such owner, licensee or operator, shall not be liable for any damages for any defamatory statement published or uttered in or as a part of a television and/or radio broadcast, by one other than such owner, licensee or operator, or agent or employee thereof, unless it shall be alleged and proved by the complaining party, that such owner, licensee, operator or such agent or employee, has failed to exercise due care to prevent the publication or utterance of such statement in such broadcast.
§12-1447.2. Defamatory statements by candidates for public office.
In no event, however, shall any owner, licensee or operator, or the agents or employees of any such owner, licensee or operator of such television and/or radio station or network of stations be held liable for any damages for any defamatory statement uttered over the facilities of such station or network by any candidate for public office, where such statement is not subject to censorship or control by reason of any federal statute or any ruling or order of the Federal Communications Commission made pursuant thereto; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that this section shall not apply to any owner, licensee, or operator, or any agent or employee of such owner, licensee or operator, of such visual or sound radio broadcasting station, or network of stations, when such owner, licensee, or operator, or agent or employee of such owner, licensee or operator, is a candidate for public office or speaking on behalf of a candidate for public office.
§12-1447.3. Damages recoverable.
In any action for damages for any defamatory statement published in or uttered as a part of a television and/or radio broadcast, the complaining party shall be allowed such actual and/or punitive damages as he has alleged and proved.
§12-1447.4. Recordation and preservation of political utterances.
It shall be the duty of such television and/or radio broadcasting station or network to record and preserve all political utterances. Said recording to be preserved for a period of two (2) years and made available to any person or persons instituting legal actions for libel or defamation. Any person, firm or corporation violating this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof fined not to exceed One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) and costs.
§12-1447.5. Broadcast of truth statement following broadcast of untrue statement.
If any broadcasting station, at any time, broadcasts, publishes, or circulates any false statement, allegation or rumor pertaining or relating to any individual or association of individuals, or to any trade, labor business, social, economic or religious organization or to any firm, corporation or business or to any public official or candidate for a public office, the said broadcasting station upon demand of any person or persons affected or their representatives, shall broadcast, without charge, any statement setting forth in proper language the truth pertaining to such statement, allegation, or rumor, which said person or persons or their representatives shall offer to said broadcasting station for broadcast. Provided, that the truth statement shall be broadcast as many times as the untrue statement was broadcast. Provided further, that the truth statement shall be broadcast at a like or comparable time in the daily routine as was the untrue statement.