Legislation sponsored by Senator Jon Bramnick that would establish an expedited process to dismiss SLAPP suits was approved today by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
Legislation sponsored by Sen. Jon Bramnick that would establish an expedited process to dismiss SLAPP suits was approved today by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. (©iStock)
“Many states throughout the country have enacted laws specifically aimed at discouraging SLAPP suits. Typically, these laws allow the defendant in a suit to file a motion that, in one way or another, allows the court to dismiss the lawsuit for being without merit. Unfortunately, New Jersey does not have an Anti-SLAPP suit statute,” said Bramnick (R-21). “This legislation would provide an expedited process for the courts to dismiss SLAPP suits so that people can exercise their First Amendment rights without the fear of getting bogged down in legal proceedings.”
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.
Under Bramnick’s legislation, S-2802, 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.