Print Friendly HOUSE BILL NO. 421
– Public participatn, lawsuit against
HOUSE BILL NO. 421
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PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - LAWSUIT - Adds to existing law to provide procedures
involving strategic lawsuits against public participation; to provide for a
motion to dismiss; to provide procedures; and to provide exceptions.
01/25 House intro - 1st rdg - to printing
01/28 Rpt prt - to Jud
]]]] LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO ]]]]
Fifty-ninth Legislature Second Regular Session - 2008
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
HOUSE BILL NO. 421
1 AN ACT
2 RELATING TO ACTIONS IN PARTICULAR CASES; AMENDING TITLE 6, IDAHO CODE, BY THE
3 ADDITION OF A NEW CHAPTER 27, TITLE 6, IDAHO CODE, TO DEFINE TERMS, TO
4 PROVIDE PROCEDURES INVOLVING STRATEGIC LAWSUITS AGAINST PUBLIC PARTICIPA-
5 TION, TO PROVIDE FOR A MOTION TO DISMISS, TO PROVIDE PROCEDURES, TO PRO-
6 VIDE FOR THE AWARD OF COSTS AND ATTORNEY'S FEES AND TO PROVIDE EXCEPTIONS.
7 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
8 SECTION 1. That Title 6, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby amended
9 by the addition thereto of a NEW CHAPTER, to be known and designated as Chap-
10 ter 27, Title 6, Idaho Code, and to read as follows:
11 CHAPTER 27
12 SPECIAL ACTIONS AND PROCEEDINGS BY INDIVIDUAL PERSONS --
13 EXERCISE OF THE RIGHT OF PETITION
14 6-2701. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter, unless the context otherwise
16 (1) "Exercise of the right of petition" means any written or oral state-
17 ment that falls within the constitutional protection of free speech and that
18 is made as part of an initiative, referendum or recall effort or that is all
19 of the following:
20 (a) Made before or submitted to a legislative or executive body or any
21 other governmental proceeding.
22 (b) Made in connection with an issue that is under consideration or
23 review by a legislative or executive body or any other governmental pro-
25 (c) Made for the purpose of influencing a governmental action, decision
26 or result.
27 (2) "Governmental proceeding" means any proceeding, other than a judicial
28 proceeding, by an officer, official or body of this state and any political
29 subdivision of this state, including boards and commissions, or by an officer,
30 official or body of the federal government.
31 (3) "Legal action" means any action, claim, cross-claim or counterclaim
32 for damages that is based on the defendant's exercise of the right of peti-
34 6-2702. STRATEGIC LAWSUITS AGAINST PUBLIC PARTICIPATION -- MOTION TO DIS-
35 MISS. (1) In any legal action that involves a party's exercise of the right of
36 petition, the defending party may file a motion to dismiss the action under
37 this section. When possible, the court shall give calendar preference to an
38 action that is brought under this subsection and shall conduct an expedited
39 hearing after the motion is filed with the court and notice of the motion has
40 been served as provided by court rule.
41 (2) The court shall grant the motion unless the party against whom the
1 motion is made shows that the moving party's exercise of the right of petition
2 did not contain any reasonable factual support or any arguable basis in law
3 and that the moving party's acts caused actual compensable injury to the
4 responding party. In making its determination, the court shall consider the
5 pleadings and supporting and opposing affidavits stating facts on which the
6 liability or defense is based. At the request of the moving party, the court
7 shall make findings whether the lawsuit was brought to deter or prevent the
8 moving party from exercising constitutional rights and is thereby brought for
9 an improper purpose, including to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or
10 needless increase in the cost of litigation. If the court finds that the law-
11 suit was brought to deter or prevent the exercise of constitutional rights or
12 otherwise brought for an improper purpose, the moving party is encouraged to
13 pursue additional sanctions as provided by court rule.
14 (3) The motion to dismiss may be filed within ninety (90) days after the
15 service of the complaint or, in the court's discretion, at any later time on
16 terms that the court deems proper.
17 (4) If the court grants the motion to dismiss, the court shall award the
18 moving party costs and reasonable attorney's fees, including those incurred
19 for the motion. If the court finds that a motion to dismiss is frivolous or
20 solely intended to delay, the court shall award costs and reasonable attor-
21 ney's fees to the prevailing party on the motion. For the purposes of this
22 subsection, "costs" means all costs that are reasonably incurred in connection
23 with a motion to dismiss pursuant to this section and includes filing fees,
24 record preparation and document copying fees, documented time away from
25 employment to confer with counsel or attend case related proceedings, expert
26 witness fees, travel expenses and any other costs that the court deems appro-
28 (5) This chapter does not:
29 (a) Affect, limit or preclude the right of the moving party to any remedy
30 otherwise authorized by law.
31 (b) Apply to an enforcement action that is brought in the name of this
32 state or a political subdivision of this state.
33 (c) Create any privileges or immunities or otherwise affect, limit or
34 preclude any privileges or immunities authorized by law.
35 (d) Limit or preclude a legislative or executive body or a public agency
36 from enforcing the rules of procedure and rules of order of the body or
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
This bill adds a new Chapter 27, Title 6, Idaho Code, to define
terms and to provide procedures involving strategic lawsuits
against public participation. It provides for a motion to dismiss,
provides for the award of costs and attorney's fees and provides
exceptions. These strategic lawsuits against public participation
are designed to stifle legitimate and constitutionally protected
free speech. Twenty-five states currently have some form of
legislation against strategic lawsuits against public
participation. Those states include Washington, Oregon, Nevada,
Utah and California.
Name: Representative Jim Clark
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/FISCAL NOTE H 421