The Michigan legislature passed a bill this week that would limit SLAPP suits.
House Bill No. 5036 provides that if a defendant in a lawsuit makes a motion to dismiss, the court shall dismiss the case if either of the following applies:
a. The action was based on the defendant’s exercise of constitutionally protected right to petition the government and the communication was aimed at achieving some governmental or electoral action, result, or outcome, or
b. The action is based on the defendant’s exercise of the constitutional right to free speech.
The plaintiff can avoid dismissal of the complaint if they can make a prima facie case that the purpose of the lawsuit is not to harass or intimidate or interfere with free speech and one or both of the following:
a. The defendant made a statement that was false with reckless disregard for the truth or knowing it was false, or
b. The defendant revealed something in the communication that they were prohibited by law from revealing.
The bill now awaits the Governor’s signature.
Hat-tip, Associated Press