Will New York get a stronger anti-SLAPP law?
New York may soon strengthen its narrow and weak anti-SLAPP law. The Citizen Participation Protection Act of 2014 would strengthen existing New York law to protect New Yorkers who speak out on a range of public issues from groundless suits intended to silence them.
New York’s anti-SLAPP law was passed in 1992 in response to lawsuits from real estate developers attempting to squelch opposition to their projects. However, the law was too narrowly tailored. It only protects speech about a party who applies for a public permit, such as a zoning variance. As a result, only a dozen or so lawsuits have fit the definition in the past 20 years. Furthermore, the law fails to discourage frivolous lawsuits because plaintiffs aren’t required to pay court costs for the targets of their actions. Speech-chilling lawsuits have been brought against scientists, charities, colleges, consumer groups, book reviewers, environmentalists, PTA members and, yes, journalists.
Read more about the efforts to strengthen the law here: