Anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation

Last updated 2017-06-27


TENN.STAT. § 4-21-1001. Short title


This part shall be known and may be cited as the "Tennessee Anti-Slapp Act of 1997."


TENN.STAT. § 4-21-1002. 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.


TENN.STAT. § 4-21-1003. Immunity; recovery of costs


(a) Any person who in furtherance of such person's right of free speech or petition under the Tennessee or United States Constitution in connection with a public or governmental issue communicates information regarding another person or entity to any agency of the federal, state or local government regarding a matter of concern to that agency shall be immune from civil liability on claims based upon the communication to the agency.


(b) The immunity conferred by this section shall not attach if the person communicating such information:


(1) Knew the information to be false;


(2) Communicated information in reckless disregard of its falsity; or


(3) Acted negligently in failing to ascertain the falsity of the information if such information pertains to a person or entity other than a public figure.


(c) A person prevailing upon the defense of immunity provided for in this section shall be entitled to recover costs and reasonable attorneys' fees incurred in establishing the defense.


TENN.STAT. § 4-21-1004. Intervention; governmental agency; attorney general


(a) In order to protect the free flow of information from citizens to their government, an agency receiving a complaint or information under § 4-21-1003 may intervene and defend against any suit precipitated by the communication to the agency. In the event that a local government agency does not intervene in and defend against a suit arising from any communication protected under this part, the office of the attorney general and reporter may intervene in and defend against the suit.


(b) An agency prevailing upon the defense of immunity provided for in § 4-21-1003 shall be entitled to recover costs and reasonable attorneys' fees incurred in establishing the defense. If the agency fails to establish such defense, the party bringing such action shall be entitled to recover from the agency costs and reasonable attorneys' fees incurred in proving the defense inapplicable or invalid.





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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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