RCFP: Bill enhancing Florida’s anti-SLAPP law heads to governor for approval

May 06, 15

Florida bill that would revise the state’s narrow anti-SLAPP law to provide a greater level of protection for speakers against meritless lawsuits has passed both houses of the legislature and now awaits Gov. Rick Scott’s signature.

Florida’s anti-SLAPP law, Fla. Stat. § 768.295, currently only provides for the speedy dismissal of SLAPP suits when such frivolous suits are filed by government entities. In practice, “strategic lawsuits against public participation,” or SLAPPs, are filed by a wide range of plaintiffs, with far more deleterious effects on speakers than just those suits brought by the government.

CS/HB 1041, the bill that has been presented to Governor Scott along with its companion bill CS/SB 1312, widens the scope of the Florida anti-SLAPP law to apply to any action by any type of plaintiff that involves the “exercise [of] the constitutional right of free speech in connection with a public issue.” That term is then defined as “any written or oral statement that is protected under applicable law and is made before a governmental entity in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a governmental entity, or is made in or in connection with a play, movie, television program, radio broadcast, audiovisual work, book, magazine article, musical work, news report, or other similar work.”

Read more from Kimberly Chow at RCFP here: http://www.rcfp.org/browse-media-law-resources/news/bill-enhancing-floridas-anti-slapp-law-heads-governor-approval

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