State Anti-SLAPP Laws
Pertinent laws and judicial decisions are listed according to state. If you know of additional laws that you think should be listed here, please contact Evan Mascagni, legislative assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Year denotes year of passage; some statutes have since been amended.
Red – State has enacted anti-SLAPP legislation
Gray – State has not enacted anti-SLAPP legislation
Alaska does not have an anti-SLAPP law.
ARIZ. REV. STAT. §§ 12-751 – 12-752 (2006)
Statements that are all of the following: made as part of an initiative, referendum or recall effort, before or submitted to a government body, concerning an issue under review by that body, to influence government action or result are protected.
ARK. CODE ANN. §§16-63-501 – 16-63-508 (2005)
Acts in furtherance of the right of free speech, or petition in connection with an issue of public concern, including statements or petitions before an official proceeding, or in connection with issue under consideration by government body, are protected.
The Arkansas code also protects “privileged communications,” which include any communication in, to, or about an issue of public concern related to any legislative, executive, or judicial proceeding, or other proceeding authorized by a state, regional, county, or municipal government if made without knowledge or reckless disregard of falsity. Arkansas also provides for a SLAPPBack under ARK. CODE ANN. §§16-63-506. In addition to sanctions and fees, a defendant may recover compensatory damages incurred in defending against a SLAPP upon a showing that the SLAPP was commenced or continued for the purpose of harassing, intimidating, punishing or maliciously inhibiting a person or entity from making a privileged communication or performing an act in furtherance of the right of free speech or petition.
CIV. PROC. CODE § 425.16 (as amended 2009)
Statements before a government body or official proceeding; or in connection with issue under consideration by government body; or in a place open to the public or public forum in connection with issue of public interest; or any other conduct in furtherance of petition/free speech in connection with issue of public interest, are protected.
CIV. PROC. CODE § 425.17.
Exempts from the anti-SLAPP law public interest litigation and claims arising from commercial speech.
CIV. PROC. CODE §425.18
SLAPPbacks: Prohibits the use of certain provisions of the anti-SLAPP law against a SLAPPback brought in the form of a malicious prosecution claim.
The California Anti-Libel Tourism Act
SB 320 passed both chambers of the CA legislature and was approved by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on 10/11/09. The bill prohibits recognition of foreign defamation judgments if a California court determines that the defamation law applied by a foreign court does not provide at least as much protection for freedom of speech and the press as provided by both the United States and California Constitutions.
Protect Our Mountain Environment, Inc. v. District Court, 677 P.2d 1361 (1984)
An action against a defendant arising out of a defendant’s legitimate petition for redress of grievances under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is subject to summary judgment for the defendant. The moving party must present sufficient facts to permit the court to reasonably conclude that the plaintiff’s action is devoid of reasonable factual support or, if so supported, is lacking a cognizable basis in law. If this showing is made, the plaintiff must present sufficient facts to permit the court to reasonably conclude that defendant’s petition for redress of grievances was primarily for the purpose of harassment or some other improper purpose.
Connecticut does not have an anti-SLAPP law.
DEL. CODE ANN. tit. 10, §§ 8136 – 8138 (1992)
Statements made by an applicant, permittee, or related person regarding a government licensing, permitting, or other decision, are protected. Delaware also provides for a SLAPPBack cause of action. Under DEL. CODE ANN. tit. 10, § 8138, a SLAPP defendant may recover compensatory and punitive damages, in addition to fees and costs, upon an additional demonstration that the SLAPP was commenced or continued for the purpose of harassing, intimidating, punishing, or otherwise maliciously inhibiting, the free exercise of speech, petition or association rights.
District of Columbia
The Council of the District of Columbia passed the Anti-SLAPP Act of 2010 (Law 18-351) on December 7, 2010. The Mayor signed the bill on January 19, 2011 and the bill was submitted for Congressional review on February 2, 2011. The new law became effective on March 31, 2011.
Under the law, any act in furtherance of the right of advocacy on issues of public interest will be protected. Such acts include any written or oral statement made in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a legislative, executive, or judicial body, or any other official proceeding authorized by law; or in a place open to the public or a public forum in connection with an issue of public interest. In addition, any other expression, or expressive conduct, that involves petitioning the government, or communicating views to members of the public in connection with an issue of public interest, is protected. An issue of public interest is defined, under the law, as an issue related to health or safety; environmental, economic, or community well-being; the District government; a public figure; or a good, product, or service in the market place. However, the statue also dictates that the term “issue of public interest” shall not be construed to include private interests, such as statements directed primarily toward protecting the speaker’s commercial interests rather than toward commenting on, or sharing information about, a matter of public significance.
The law provides a defendant who is the target of a SLAPP with the right to file a special motion to dismiss which stays discovery. If the Court grants the motion, it may award the defendant appropriate fees and costs. Furthermore, a person whose personally identifying information is sought, pursuant to a discovery order, request, or subpoena, in connection with a claim arising from an act in furtherance of the right of advocacy on issues of public interest, may make a special motion to quash the discovery order, request, or subpoena.
FLA. STAT. §§ 768.295 (2000) & 720.304 (2000)
Section 768.295 protects peaceful assembly, instructing representatives or petitioning for redress of grievances from lawsuits brought by the government.
Section 720.304 protects statements made by parcel owners about matters concerning their homeowners association.
In October of 2008, the Florida Supreme Court decided in Jews for Jesus, Inc., v. Rapp, 997 So. 2d 1098 (2008) that the tort of false light invasion of privacy would not be available in Florida. The court held that, unlike the claim of defamation which has First Amendment protections built in, the tort of false light has no such protections. Although the court has noted that “one argument often advanced to support the recognition of false light is that, unlike defamation, it allows recovery for literally true statements that create a false impression,” it also noted that the tort of defamation already incorporates the concept that “literally true statements can be defamatory where they create a false impression.” As such, the court concluded that the tort of false light should not be available in Florida. See the amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief opposing the recognition of the tort here.
GA. CODE ANN. § 9-11-11.1 (1996)
Statements made before a government body, or in connection with an issue under review by a government body, are protected in that a plaintiff filing a claim arising from such statements must file a verification that the claim is in good faith.
GUAM CODE ANN. tit. 7 § 17101 – 17109 (1998)
Acts in furtherance of petition, not limited to seeking relief, influencing action, informing, communicating, or otherwise participating in the processes of government, including communications to the public, to the electorate, or to other constituency, regardless of intent or purpose, except where not genuinely aimed at procuring favorable government or electoral action, result or outcome, are immunized.
HAW. REV. STAT. § 634F-1 – 634F-4 (2002)
Oral or written statements submitted to or made before a government body are protected. HAW. REV. STAT. § 634F-2(9) provides for a SLAPPBack. It allows a SLAPP defendant to seek relief in the form of a claim for actual or compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, from the person responsible.
Idaho has no anti-SLAPP law, though Coeur D’ Alene resident and blogger Bill McCrory discusses efforts to persuade a state legislator of the need for such a law on his blog: OpenCdA.com.
Anti-SLAPP Law (Citizen Participation Act)
735 ILL. COMP. STAT. 110/1 – 110/99 (2007)
Acts in furtherance of constitutional rights to petition, speech, association, and participation in government, except when not aimed at procuring favorable government outcome, are immunized from civil liability. For more information about Illinois’ law, please see SLAPPed in Illinois: The Scope and Applicability of the Citizen Participation Act , by Mark J. Sobczak (available via the Northern Illinois University Law Review).
SB 2722 (Libel Tourism Legislation. Please scroll down to Section b-5 for pertinent language) This libel tourism legislation allows a court to exercise jurisdiction over an individual, or entity, that has secured a foreign defamation judgment against an Illinois citizen to ascertain whether the judgment should be recognized or to issue declaratory relief. Governor Rod Blagojevich signed SB 2722 into law on 08/19/08.
Iowa does not have an anti-SLAPP law.
Kentucky does not have an anti-SLAPP law.
LA. CODE CIV. PROC. ANN. art. 971 (1999)
Acts in furtherance of petition and free speech in connection with a public issue are protected.
ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 14 § 556 (1995)
Statements made before a government body or proceeding; or in connection with an issue under review by a government body; or reasonably likely to encourage review by government; or reasonably likely to enlist public participation to effect consideration; or any other statement within constitutional right of petition, are protected.
MD. CODE ANN. CTS. & JUD. PROC. § 5-807 (2004)
Communications with a government body or public regarding any matter within the authority of a government body, if made without constitutional malice, are protected.
MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 231 § 59H (1994)
Statements made before a government body or proceeding; or in connection with issue under consideration by a government body; or reasonably likely to encourage consideration or review by a government body; or reasonably likely to enlist public participation in an effort to effect such consideration; or any other statement falling within the constitutional right to petition government, are protected.
In January of 2009, Senator Creem introduced an amendment to strengthen the Massachusetts anti-SLAPP law by making its provisions explicitly apply to journalists. The bill (SB1618) was referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee where there has been no further action taken.
For the first time in April, a Massachusetts court dismissed a suit brought against a newspaper. Previously, Massachusetts courts had held that the state’s anti-SLAPP law did not apply to any speech that was conducted for commercial gain.
Fustolo v. Hollander, No. SJC-10485
However, a case that reached the opposite conclusion, Fustolo v. Hollander, is currently on appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Court, with oral arguments set for November 2. In that case, the appeals court denied an anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought against a journalist because it found that the journalist had written the article at issue as a paid employee of a newspaper, and not as a concerned citizen. The Citizen Media Law Project, Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic, ACLU of Massachusetts, and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law of the Boston Bar Association have jointly submitted an amicus brief in favor of extending the protections of the Massachusetts law to journalists.
For a comprehensive discussion of the Massachusetts anti-SLAPP law and compendium of cases, please see the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Library Anti-SLAPP page.
Michigan has no anti-SLAPP law. However, the Michigan House of Representatives passed a strong Anti-SLAPP bill (HB 5036) on August 19, 2010, with bipartisan support. Justin Kurtz, Public Participation Project’s Webmaster and the victim of a SLAPP lawsuit, testified before the Michigan House of Representatives in support of the bill. HB 5036 was introduced by Representative Kate Ebli. State Representative Kevin Elsenheimer introduced HB 6394 in September 2008, a bill to protect both public officials and citizens from lawsuits arising from their petitioning activity. The bill has raised concerns for some because it was seen as too protective of government officials vis a vis citizens, especially zoning officials. Rep. Elsenheimer was expected to introduce anti-SLAPP legislation this year, in response to suits brought by developers against local township officials, but it does not appear that legislation has yet been filed.
MINN. STAT. §§ 554.01 – 554.05 (1994)
Lawful conduct or speech that is genuinely aimed in whole, or in part, at procuring government action, unless constituting a tort or violation of a person’s constitutional rights, is immunized under the law.
MINN. STAT. §554.04(2)(b) provides for a SLAPPBack cause of action. It provides that a court shall award actual damages, and may award punitive damages, if a SLAPP defendant shows that the SLAPP was brought to harass, inhibit the defendant’s public participation or exercise of constitutional rights, or otherwise wrongfully injure the defendant.
Mississippi does not have an anti-SLAPP law.
MO. REV. STAT. § 537.528(2004)
Speech or conduct undertaken at, or made in connection with, a public hearing or public meeting, or in a quasi-judicial proceeding before tribunal or decision making body, is protected.
Montana does not have an anti-SLAPP law.
NEB. REV. STAT. §§25-21,241 – 25-21,246 (1994)
Speech by applicant or permittee that comments, rules on, challenges, or opposes application or permission decision by government is protected. Under NEB. REV. STAT. §§ 25-21-243 & 244, a SLAPP defendant may recover damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees, from any person who commenced or continued the SLAPP. Costs and attorneys’ fees may be recovered upon a demonstration that the SLAPP was commenced or continued without a substantial basis in fact and law and could not be supported by a substantial argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law. Other compensatory damages may only be recovered upon an additional demonstration that the action involving public petition and participation was commenced or continued for the purpose of harassing, intimidating, punishing, or otherwise maliciously inhibiting the free exercise of petition, speech, or association rights.
NEV. REV. STAT. §§ 41.635 – 41.670 (1993): Communications aimed at procuring government outcome; or informing or complaining to government regarding matter reasonably of concern to the government body; or made in direct connection with issue under consideration by government body, that is truthful or made without knowledge of falsity are protected. Under NEV. REV. STAT. § 41.670(2), SLAPP defendant may bring a separate action (SLAPPback) to recover compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorney’s fees, and the costs of bringing the separate action.
Amended in 2013 to expand the breadth and scope of protected speech and other ways to strengthen the law:
New Hampshire does not have an anti-SLAPP law.
New Jersey does not have an anti-SLAPP law.
N.M. STAT. §§ 38-2-9.1 – 38-2-9.2 (2001)
Statements in connection with a public hearing or public meeting in a quasi-judicial proceeding before a tribunal or decision-making body of the state or a subdivision of the state are protected.
N.Y. C.P.L.R. 70-a & 76-a (2008); N.Y.C.P.L.R. 3211
Speech that comments, rules on, challenges or opposes an application or permission by the government is protected. Only suits brought by the aggrieved applicant or permittee are covered by the anti-SLAPP law.
N.Y. C.P.L.R. 70-a provides for a SLAPPBack. It allows a SLAPP defendant to recover costs and attorney’s fees upon a demonstration that the SLAPP was commenced or continued without a substantial basis in fact and law and could not be supported by a substantial argument for the extension, modification or reversal of existing law. Other compensatory damages may only be recovered upon an additional demonstration that the SLAPP was commenced or continued for the purpose of harassing, intimidating, punishing or otherwise maliciously inhibiting the free exercise of speech, petition or association rights. Punitive damages may only be recovered upon an additional demonstration that the action involving public petition and participation was commenced or continued for the sole purpose of harassing, intimidating, punishing or otherwise maliciously inhibiting the free exercise of speech, petition or association rights.
Libel Tourism Legislation
Amendment to Sec. 5304 (Libel Tourism Legislation)
This amendment to the New York code of civil procedure prohibits a state court from recognizing a foreign defamation judgment unless the New York court determines that the defamation law applied in the foreign court’s adjudication provided at least as much protection for freedom of speech and press in that case as would be provided by both the United States and New York constitutions.
North Carolina does not have an anti-SLAPP law.
North Dakota does not have an anti-SLAPP law.
Food Disparagement Law
Under Ohio’s Food Disparagement law, a food producer or association of food producers may sue anyone who makes a false statement, or a statement not supported by “reasonable and reliable scientific data,” about a perishable food product that causes damage to a producer of such products. If the false statements are held to have been made intentionally, a food producer can seek punitive damages. For more information on food disparagement laws and the serious chilling effect they have on free speech, see the the FoodSpeak website.
OKLA. STAT. TIT. 12, § 1443.1 (1994)
Communications made in any government proceeding in the proper discharge of official duty or anything in the legislative, judicial or proceeding record, unless the matter stated falsely imputes a crime to the officer so criticized, are “privileged” from liability for libel.
OR. REV. STAT. §§ 31.150 et seq. (2001)
Statements made: in a government proceeding; in connection with issue under consideration by government; in a place open to public or public forum if connected with issue of public interest; or other conduct in furtherance of petition or right of free speech in connection with public issue or issue of public interest.
Oregon attorney Linda Williams reports that the Oregon legislature amended the state’s anti-SLAPP law in 2009. She reports that the law now explicitly provides for immediate appeal, and that a court must now award fees to a prevailing defendant, but not plaintiff. The immediate appeal provision is likely in response to the Ninth Circuit’s holding in Englert v. MacDonnell, in which the court held that the legislature had evidenced no intent to allow appeal of denials of motions under the statute. Williams reports the changes will take effect beginning in 2010.
27 PA. CONS. STAT. § 7707 & §§ 8301 – 8303. (2000)
Communications in connection with implementation and enforcement of environmental law and regulations made before a government body/proceeding, in connection with an issue under review by government body, or to a government agency, are immune from civil liability.
R.I. GEN. LAWS §§ 9-33-1 – 9-33-4 (1995)
Any statement made before or submitted to a government body, in connection with issue under review by government body, or made in connection with issue of public concern, is conditionally immune from civil claims unless said petition or free speech constitutes a sham.
R.I. GEN. LAWS § 9-33-2(d) provides for a SLAPPBack. It provides that a court shall award compensatory damages and may award punitive damages upon a showing by the prevailing party that the responding party’s claims, counterclaims, or cross claims were frivolous or were brought with an intent to harass said party or otherwise inhibit said party’s exercise of its right to petition or free speech under the United States or Rhode Island Constitution.
South Carolina has no anti-SLAPP law. However, H.R. 3587 would protect acts in furtherance of the constitutional right to petition, including seeking relief, influencing action, informing, communicating, and otherwise participating in the processes of government. The bill would provide that such petitioning acts are immune from civil liability, regardless of intent or purpose, except when the acts are not aimed at procuring a governmental or electoral action, result, or outcome. The bill would protect against any claim in a judicial proceeding if the claim is based on, relates to, or is in response to an act of the moving party in furtherance of the moving party’s rights under the Act.
As of 2/19/09, it is referred the Judiciary Committee in the South Carolina House.
South Dakota does not have an anti-SLAPP law.
TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 4-21-1001 -21-1004 (1997)
Any person, who in furtherance of right of free speech or petition in connection with a public or government issue, communicates information regarding another person or entity to any government agency regarding a matter of concern of that agency, unless with knowledge or reckless disregard of falsity with regards to a public figure or negligence of falsity with regards to private figure, is immune from civil liability.
In March, a Tennessee court ruled that a plaintiff seeking to unmask an anonymous blogger’s identity must first make a sufficient legal and factual showing on the underlying claim.
Governor Rick Perry signed anti-SLAPP legislation into law on June 17, 2011. The Citizens Participation Act (HB 2973) passed both chambers of the Texas Legislature unanimously. As such, under Texas law the act takes effect immediately. Texans targeted with a SLAPP can now file a motion to dismiss the suit that suspends discovery until the Court rules on the motion. In addition, the Court may award fees and costs to a SLAPP victim upon the granting of the motion.
UTAH CODE ANN. §§ 78B-6-1401 – 1405 (2001)
Participation in the mechanisms and procedures by which the legislative and executive branches of government make decisions, and the activities leading up to the decisions, including the exercise of the right to influence those decisions under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, is protected.
UTAH CODE ANN. § 78-58-105 provides that a SLAPP defendant may recover costs and reasonable attorney’s fees, upon a demonstration that the action involving public participation in the process of government was commenced or continued without a substantial basis in fact and law and could not be supported by a substantial argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law. A defendant may recover other compensatory damages upon an additional demonstration that the action involving public participation in the process of government was commenced or continued for the purpose of harassing, intimidating, punishing, or otherwise maliciously inhibiting the free exercise of rights granted under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
On June 14, the Utah Supreme Court declined to broadly construe the statute, holding that speech about the qualifications of candidates for elected office is not protected by the anti-SLAPP statute (though it may be protected by the state’s common law public interest privilege).
12 V.S.A. § 1041
Protects statements made in the course of or in connection with government proceedings, and statements and conduct in connection with an issue of public interest, unless devoid of any reasonable factual support and any arguable basis in law and harmful to the plaintiff.
Virginia does not have an anti-SLAPP law.
WASH. REV. CODE §§ RCW 4.24.500-525 (2010)
Under Washington State’s anti-SLAPP law, revised in 2010, direct petitioning activity as well as “any lawful conduct in furtherance of the exercise of the constitutional right of free speech” that are related to issues of public concern are protected. The law provides for early special motions to strike which require SLAPP plaintiffs to demonstrate, at the outset of litigation, that they can establish the required elements of their case with convincing clarity. If the plaintiff is unable to do so, the case is dismissed. All discovery and any pending hearings or motions are suspended until the court rules on the motion. A defendant who prevails on a special motion to strike is entitled to a fine of $10,000, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and the costs of litigation. A frivolous motion to strike is subject to similar sanctions. Under the law, either party has the right to seek an expedited appeal to a higher court if a court fails to promptly rule on a motion to dismiss.
West Virginia has no anti-SLAPP statute. However, the West Virginia Supreme Court has held that petitioning activity and speech in connection with an issue of public interest is entitled to the NY Times v. Sullivan malice standard level of protection.
Harris v. Adkins, 432 S.E.2d 549 (1993)
Limiting its earlier holding in Webb v. Fury, 282 S.E.2d 28, the court held that the right to petition, though not afforded absolute immunity by the Constitution, cannot give rise to liability unless the defendant is shown to have acted with actual malice.
Wisconsin has no anti-SLAPP law. However, on September 23, 2009, the Wisconsin House passed the “Whistleblower Protection Act,” a reporter’s shield bill under which judges could only order reporters to testify, produce information or reveal a source’s identity when the information is “highly relevant” to the case or critical to a party’s argument, and that the information is otherwise unavailable and there is an overriding public interest in disclosing it. A member of the FASP coalition, the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, worked with the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council to secure this important piece of legislation to protect speech and press rights. The Wisconsin senate and governor still have to approve the bill.
Wyoming does not have an anti-SLAPP law.