Will anti-SLAPP law be changed this session?

It is unclear whether the state’s strong anti-SLAPP law will see any changes with the obdurate Senate seemingly unwilling to agree to anything other than disembowelment.

But a ruling out of Washington state on that state’s anti-SLAPP law might prompt a compromise from the pro-anti-SLAPP law camp, I hear. (SLAPP is an acronym for strategic lawsuit against public participation.)

Like Nevada, Washington has a constitution that guarantees civil jury trials. Nevada’s states: “The right of trial by Jury shall be secured to all and remain inviolate forever; but a Jury trial may be waived by the parties in all civil cases in the manner to be prescribed by law …”

Also like Nevada, the Washington anti-SLAPP law said a lawsuit over someone’s public comments could be dismissed in the early stages if the judge could not find “clear and convincing evidence” the plaintiff could prevail.

The Washington Supreme Court found that the law required the judge to usurp the duties of a jury to determine credibility, weigh factual evidence and decide whether the case is frivolous.

Of course, the Nevada Supreme Court might rule differently on the judicial power of summary judgment. That legal wrangling would be interesting to hear.

A compromise, if it ever sees the light day, might change the criteria from “clear and convincing” to a less strenuous “prima facie,” which was a part of the original Senate Bill 444, along with other weakening provisions.

I would still like to hear the arguments for keeping the current standard.

 

 

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4 comments on “Will anti-SLAPP law be changed this session?

  1. Ralston on twitter: Asked two senators about SB444, the changes to NV’s anti-SLAPP law. @GregBrowerNV said changes minor. @tsegerblom says Ds “asleep at wheel.”

    RT @seanw801: .@Irahansen says bill that critics say would weaken NV’s anti-SLAPP statute is dead. SB444 not on Fri. work sess./Not #Wynning

    That is all I could find on twitter since May 11.

    He interviewed Wynn on May. I ffwd through it did not find a Q about SB444. Search engine turns up nothing else.

    All I can find from Sebelius are comments on KNPR when he was asked about the bill:
    “It’s still got some provisions in there that I think defense lawyers and people who favor free speech look very askance at,” Sebelius said.

    “You can’t silence people this way,” Sebelius said, “The net effect of this bill would, undeniably, be a chilling effect on the free speech rights of regular people.”

    Odd, don’t you think?

    If anyone can find further comments, please advise. I know the R-J archives are pitiful.

  2. Steve says:

    Whats odd is Sebelius opinion about “regular” people.

    I said it before, this issue is one of big fish being eaten by bigger fish.
    I really has nothing to do with “regular” people, people who only wannt to pay their mortgages and have enough left over to eat and spend some real time with their family and friends. “blowing whistles” or writing books are not on the minds of so called “regular” people.

  3. […] In the chaos of the closing hours of the legislative session it appears the state’s anti-SLAPP law survived largely intact, but with some wording that could prevent a court from ruling it unconstitutional, as was done in Washington state recently. […]

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