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Senate File 450

Partial Bill History

Bill Text

  1  1    Section 1.  NEW SECTION.  613.20  IMMUNITY FOR
  1  3    1.  As used in this section:
  1  4    a.  "Claim" means any lawsuit, cause of action, claim,
  1  5 cross-claim, counterclaim, or other pleading or filing
  1  6 requesting relief.
  1  7    b.  "Government" includes a branch, department, agency,
  1  8 instrumentality, official, employee, agent, or other person
  1  9 acting under color of law of the state, or any political
  1 10 subdivision, or another public authority, including the
  1 11 electorate.
  1 12    c.  "Motion" includes any motion to dismiss, for summary
  1 13 judgment, for judgment on the pleadings, to strike, or any
  1 14 other pleading filed to dispose of a judicial claim.
  1 15    d.  "Moving party" means any person on whose behalf the
  1 16 motion described in subsection 3 is filed seeking dismissal of
  1 17 the claim.
  1 18    e.  "Responding party" means any person against whom the
  1 19 motion described in subsection 3 is filed.
  1 20    2.  A person who acts in furtherance of the constitutional
  1 21 right to petition for a redress of grievances, including but
  1 22 not limited to seeking relief, influencing action, informing,
  1 23 communicating, and otherwise participating in the processes of
  1 24 government, shall be immune from civil liability, regardless
  1 25 of intent or purpose, except where not aimed at procuring any
  1 26 governmental or electoral action, result, or outcome.
  1 27    3.  A motion to dispose of a claim in a judicial proceeding
  1 28 on the grounds that the claim is based on, relates to, or is
  1 29 in response to any act of a moving party in furtherance of the
  1 30 moving party's rights as described in subsection 2 shall be
  1 31 treated like a motion for summary judgment, but shall not bar
  1 32 a motion for summary judgment from later being filed on other
  1 33 grounds.
  1 34    a.  The court shall treat the motion as one requiring an
  1 35 expedited hearing.
  2  1    b.  The moving party shall have a right of expedited appeal
  2  2 from a court order denying such a motion or from a failure by
  2  3 the court to rule on such motion in an expedited manner.
  2  4    c.  Discovery shall be suspended, pending decision on the
  2  5 motion and appeals.
  2  6    d.  The responding party shall have the burden of proof, of
  2  7 going forward with the evidence, and of persuasion on the
  2  8 motion.
  2  9    e.  The court shall make its determination based upon the
  2 10 facts contained in the pleadings and affidavits filed with the
  2 11 pleadings.
  2 12    f.  The court shall grant the motion and dismiss the claim
  2 13 unless the responding party has produced clear and convincing
  2 14 evidence that the acts of the moving party are not immunized
  2 15 from liability by subsection 2.
  2 16    g.  Any government body to which the moving party's acts
  2 17 were directed or the attorney general may intervene to defend
  2 18 or otherwise support the moving party.
  2 19    h.  If the court dismisses the claim, the court shall do
  2 20 both of the following:
  2 21    (1)  Award to the moving party the costs of litigation,
  2 22 including reasonable attorney and expert witness fees.
  2 23    (2)  Impose additional sanctions upon the responding party,
  2 24 its attorneys, or law firms, as it determines will be
  2 25 sufficient to deter repetition of such conduct and comparable
  2 26 conduct by others similarly situated.
  2 27    4.  A person damaged or injured by reason of a claim filed
  2 28 in violation of the person's rights under this section may
  2 29 seek relief in the form of a claim for actual or compensatory
  2 30 damages, as well as punitive damages, attorney fees, and
  2 31 costs, from the person or persons responsible.
  2 32    Sec. 2.  EFFECTIVE DATE.  This Act, being deemed of
  2 33 immediate importance, takes effect upon enactment.  
  2 34                           EXPLANATION
  2 35    This bill provides immunity from civil lawsuit for acts
  3  1 undertaken by a person in furtherance of the person's right to
  3  2 petition government for a redress of grievances.  This type of
  3  3 law is also known as an anti-SLAPP provision, designed to
  3  4 prevent Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation
  3  5 (SLAPP).
  3  6    The bill establishes new Code section 613.20, which
  3  7 provides definitions, and sets forth the immunity for persons
  3  8 who seek relief from the government, attempt to influence
  3  9 governmental action, inform, communicate, and otherwise
  3 10 participate in the processes of government, regardless of
  3 11 intent or purpose, provided the action aims to procure a
  3 12 governmental or electoral action, result, or outcome.
  3 13    The new Code section also provides for an expedited
  3 14 decision on a motion filed to determine whether a suit has
  3 15 been filed in violation of the immunity established by this
  3 16 section, and whether the claim should be dismissed.  The
  3 17 procedure requires suspension of discovery pending resolution
  3 18 of the motion and its appeals, and places on the responding
  3 19 party (the party filing the lawsuit) the burden of proof, of
  3 20 going forward with the evidence, and of persuasion on the
  3 21 motion.  The responding party must establish by clear and
  3 22 convincing evidence that the acts of the moving party are not
  3 23 immunized from liability in order to prevail on the motion and
  3 24 to continue with the lawsuit.
  3 25    The attorney general or other governmental body is
  3 26 authorized to intervene to defend or otherwise support the
  3 27 moving party.  If the motion is granted and the claim is
  3 28 dismissed, the court is directed to award the moving party
  3 29 litigation costs, and to sanction the responding party, its
  3 30 attorneys, or law firms, as it determines will be sufficient
  3 31 to deter repetition of such conduct and comparable conduct by
  3 32 others similarly situated.
  3 33    Finally, a person damaged by a claim filed in violation of
  3 34 the person's rights may file a claim for damages, including
  3 35 punitive damages, against the responsible parties.
  4  1    The bill takes effect upon enactment.  
  4  2 LSB 2140SS 78
  4  3 jj/jw/5

Text: SF00449                           Text: SF00451
Text: SF00400 - SF00499                 Text: SF Index
Bills and Amendments: General Index     Bill History: General Index

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