Legislation sponsored by Senator Jon Bramnick that will establish an expedited process to dismiss SLAPP suits was signed into law today by Governor Murphy.
"I'm proud that the Governor signed this bill into law. Many states throughout the country have enacted legislation specifically aimed at discouraging SLAPP suits. Unfortunately, those statutes did not exist in New Jersey," said Bramnick (R-21). "Typically, Anti-SLAPP suit laws allow the defendant in a suit to file a motion that permits the court to dismiss the lawsuit for being without merit. My legislation will enact something similar in New Jersey so that people can exercise their First Amendment rights without the fear of being overwhelmed by legal proceedings."
Under Bramnick's legislation, S-2802/A-4393, when a lawsuit is determined to be a SLAPP suit and is dismissed accordingly under procedures established by the bill, the court will award reasonable attorney's fees and litigation expenses to the party against whom the SLAPP suit was filed.
A SLAPP suit, or Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, refers to a meritless civil action brought against individuals who speak out about public issues. The suit is filed with the intent that the defendants incur substantial costs in defending themselves. SLAPP suits can take various forms, but the most common is a meritless civil action for defamation.