Connecticut Lawmakers Drop Anti-SLAPP, Libel Tourism Bills On The Governor's Desk

Tim Cushing at Techdirt offers an analysis of CT's new anti-SLAPP law, which was recently unanimously passed by legislators and is headed to the governor's desk.  Here is an excerpt from that post:

If passed, this would lower the number of states without anti-SLAPP laws to 21, which means there's still a lot of work to do if there's any hope of preventing forum-shopping by censorious litigants. The bill provides for the filing of anti-SLAPP motions by defendants who feel a libel suit has been filed simply to shut them up. It also prevents the court from advancing the case further -- most importantly, blocking discovery attempts by plaintiffs -- until the special motion has been ruled on.

Under this law, libel litigants would need to show a "preponderance of evidence" in support of their lawsuit's claims at the early stages of litigation, helping decrease the costs of defending against defamation claims. In addition, court fees and legal fees would be awarded to the defendant if the anti-SLAPP motion is granted. This deterrent will hopefully prevent bad faith litigators from filing lawsuits just to waste defendants' time and money.

Unfortunately, the law also requires the defendant to make the same evidentiary showing first, which kind of turns anti-SLAPP motions into a pre-trial trial where both parties are given evidentiary burdens during a preliminary set of motions. This somewhat subverts the purpose of the bill, which is to reduce defendants' costs prior to litigation. This is the part of the law the ACLU would like to see removed before it will offer its support.

Read the full post here: