Anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against
Nebraska Anti-SLAPP Acts & Laws
Last updated 2017-06-26
Neb.Rev.St. § 25-21,241. Legislative findings and declarations
The Legislature finds and declares that:
(1) It is the policy of the state that the constitutional rights of citizens and organizations to be involved and participate freely in the process of government must be encouraged and safeguarded with great diligence. The information, reports, opinions, claims, arguments, and other expressions provided by citizens are vital to effective law enforcement, the operation of government, the making of public policy and decisions, and the continuation of representative democracy. The laws, courts, and other agencies of this state must provide the utmost protection for the free exercise of these petition, speech, and association rights;
(2) Civil actions for damages have been filed against citizens and organizations of this state as a result of the valid exercise of their constitutional rights to petition, speech, and association. There has been a disturbing increase in such strategic lawsuits against public participation in government;
(3) The threat of strategic lawsuits against public participation, personal liability, and burdensome litigation costs significantly chills and diminishes citizen participation in government, voluntary public service, and the exercise of these important constitutional rights. This abuse of the judicial process can and has been used as a means of intimidating, harassing, or punishing citizens and organizations for involving themselves in public affairs; and
(4) It is in the public interest and it is the purpose of sections 25-21,241 to 25-21,246 to strike a balance between the rights of persons to file lawsuits for injury and the constitutional rights of persons to petition, speech, and association, to protect and encourage public participation in government to the maximum extent permitted by law, to establish an efficient process for identification and adjudication of strategic lawsuits against public participation, and to provide for costs, attorney's fees, and actual damages.
Neb.Rev.St. § 25-21,242. Terms, defined
For purposes of sections 25-21,241 to 25-21,246:
(1) Action involving public petition and participation shall mean an action, claim, cross-claim, or counterclaim for damages that is brought by a public applicant or permittee and is materially related to any efforts of the defendant to report on, comment on, rule on, challenge, or oppose the application or permission;
(2) Communication shall mean any statement, claim, allegation in a proceeding, decision, protest, writing, argument, contention, or other expression;
(3) Government body shall mean a city, a village, a political subdivision, a state agency, the state, the federal government, or a public authority, board, or commission; and
(4) Public applicant or permittee shall mean any person who has applied for or obtained a permit, zoning change, lease, license, certificate, or other entitlement for use or permission to act from any government body or any person with an interest, connection, or affiliation with such person that is materially related to such application or permission.
Neb.Rev.St. § 25-21,243. Defendant in action involving public petition and participation; action authorized; costs, attorney's fees, and damages; authorized; waiver; section, how construed
(1) A defendant in an action involving public petition and participation may maintain an action, claim, cross-claim, or counterclaim to recover damages, including costs and attorney's fees, from any person who commenced or continued such action. Costs and attorney's fees may be recovered upon a demonstration that the action involving public petition and participation was commenced or continued without a substantial basis in fact and law and could not be supported by a substantial argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law. Other compensatory damages may only be recovered upon an additional demonstration that the action involving public petition and participation was commenced or continued for the purpose of harassing, intimidating, punishing, or otherwise maliciously inhibiting the free exercise of petition, speech, or association rights.
(2) The right to bring an action, claim, cross-claim, or counterclaim under this section may be waived only if it is waived specifically.
(3) Nothing in this section shall affect or preclude the right of any party to any recovery otherwise authorized by common law or by statute, rule, or regulation.
Neb.Rev.St. § 25-21,244. Action involving public petition and participation; damages; standard of proof; section, how construed
(1) In an action involving public petition and participation, the plaintiff may recover damages, including costs and attorney's fees, only if he or she, in addition to all other necessary elements, has established by clear and convincing evidence that any communication which gives rise to the action was made with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard of whether it was false, if the truth or falsity of such communication is material to the cause of action at issue.
(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit any constitutional, statutory, or common-law protections of defendants to actions involving public petition and participation.
Neb.Rev.St. § 25-21,245. Action involving public petition and participation; motion to dismiss; when granted; duty to expedite
A motion to dismiss based on a failure to state a cause of action shall be granted when the moving party demonstrates that the action, claim, cross-claim, or counterclaim subject to the motion is an action involving public petition and participation unless the party responding to the motion demonstrates that the cause of action has a substantial basis in law or is supported by a substantial argument for an extension, modification, or reversal of existing law. The court shall expedite and grant preference in the hearing of such motion.
Neb.Rev.St. § 25-21,246. Action involving public petition and participation; motion for summary judgment; when granted
A motion for summary judgment shall be granted when the moving party has demonstrated that the action, claim, cross-claim, or counterclaim subject to the motion is an action involving public petition and participation unless the party responding to the motion demonstrates that the action, claim, cross-claim, or counterclaim has a substantial basis in fact and law or is supported by a substantial argument for an extension, modification, or reversal of existing law. The court shall grant preference in the hearing of such motion.
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