LIEB BLOG

How current events impact your business and real estate holdings

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

NYS Passes Law to Increase Free Speech & Public Participation

Effective November 10, 2020, NYS strengthened its laws against lawsuits that are brought and intended to chill free speech, called Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation ("SLAPP suits"). 


NYS' prior anti-SLAPP / free speech law had been limited to protecting speech concerning "controversies over a public application or permit, usually in a real estate development situation." 


Now, the anti-SLAPP law deals with "anything other than a 'purely private matter.'" Additionally, the law now requires courts to provide costs and attorney's fees if a lawsuit against public petition and participation was initiated in bad faith to chill speech. 


The new laws are Civil Rights Law 70-a, which deals with the costs and attorney's fees, and Civil Rights Law 76-a, which expands the types of speech that is protected by the anti-SLAPP law. Specifically, Civil Rights Law 76-a now permits a suit concerning "[a]ny communication in a place open to the public or a public forum in connection with an issue of public interest; or ii. [a]ny other lawful conduct in furtherance of the exercise of the constitutional right of free speech in connection with an issue of public interest, or in furtherance of the exercise of the constitutional right of petition."


To read the full bill, click here








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