Bill Text: IA HSB537 | 2019-2020 | 88th General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: A bill for an act relating to judicial motions and causes of action arising from a person's participation in matters of public significance.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (? 1-0)

Status: (N/A) 2020-02-10 - Committee report, recommending passage. H.J. 235. [HSB537 Detail]

Download: Iowa-2019-HSB537-Introduced.html
House Study Bill 537 - Introduced HOUSE FILE _____ BY (PROPOSED COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY BILL BY CHAIRPERSON HOLT) A BILL FOR An Act relating to judicial motions and causes of action 1 arising from a person’s participation in matters of public 2 significance. 3 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA: 4 TLSB 5584YC (3) 88 ja/jh
H.F. _____ Section 1. NEW SECTION . 619.20 Protection of public 1 participation —— special motion to strike. 2 1. The general assembly finds and declares that it is in the 3 public interest to encourage continued participation in matters 4 of public significance, and that this participation should not 5 be chilled through abuse of the judicial process. To this end, 6 this section shall be construed broadly. 7 2. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise 8 requires: 9 a. “Act in furtherance of the person’s right of petition or 10 free speech under the Constitution of the United States or the 11 Constitution of the State of Iowa in connection with a public 12 issue” includes all of the following: 13 (1) Any written or oral statement or writing made before a 14 legislative, executive, or judicial proceeding, or any other 15 official proceeding authorized by law. 16 (2) Any written or oral statement or writing made in 17 connection with an issue under consideration or review by a 18 legislative, executive, or judicial body, or any other official 19 proceeding authorized by law. 20 (3) Any written or oral statement or writing made in a place 21 open to the public or a public forum in connection with an 22 issue of public interest. 23 (4) Any other conduct in furtherance of the exercise of the 24 constitutional right of petition or the constitutional right 25 of free speech in connection with a public issue or an issue of 26 public interest. 27 b. “Complaint” includes a cross-complaint and a petition. 28 c. “Defendant” includes a cross-defendant and a respondent. 29 d. “Plaintiff” includes a cross-complainant and a 30 petitioner. 31 3. a. A cause of action against a person arising from any 32 act or omission of that person in furtherance of the person’s 33 right of petition or free speech under the Constitution of 34 the United States or the Constitution of the State of Iowa in 35 -1- LSB 5584YC (3) 88 ja/jh 1/ 5
H.F. _____ connection with a public issue shall be subject to a special 1 motion to strike, unless the court determines the plaintiff has 2 established there is a probability the plaintiff will prevail 3 on the claim. 4 b. In making its determination, the court shall consider the 5 pleadings and supporting and opposing affidavits stating the 6 facts upon which the liability or defense is based. 7 c. If the court determines the plaintiff has established 8 a probability that the plaintiff will prevail on the claim, 9 neither that determination nor the fact of that determination 10 shall be admissible in evidence at any later stage of the 11 case, or in any subsequent action, and no burden of proof 12 or degree of proof otherwise applicable shall be affected by 13 that determination in any later stage of the case or in any 14 subsequent proceeding. 15 4. a. Except as provided in paragraph “b” , in any action 16 subject to subsection 3, a prevailing defendant on a special 17 motion to strike shall be entitled to recover costs and 18 reasonable attorney fees. If the court finds that a special 19 motion to strike is frivolous or is solely intended to cause 20 unnecessary delay, the court shall award costs and reasonable 21 attorney fees incurred in opposing the motion to a plaintiff 22 prevailing on the motion. 23 b. A defendant who prevails on a special motion to strike 24 in an action subject to paragraph “a” shall not be entitled 25 to costs and attorney fees if that cause of action is brought 26 pursuant to chapter 21, 22, or 23. 27 5. The special motion may be filed within sixty days after 28 the service of the complaint or, in the court’s discretion, at 29 any later time upon terms the court deems proper. The motion 30 shall be scheduled by the clerk of the court for a hearing not 31 more than thirty days after the service of the motion unless 32 the docket conditions of the court require a later hearing. 33 6. All discovery proceedings in the action shall be stayed 34 upon the filing of a notice of motion made pursuant to this 35 -2- LSB 5584YC (3) 88 ja/jh 2/ 5
H.F. _____ section. The stay of discovery shall remain in effect until 1 notice of entry of the order ruling on the motion. The 2 court, on noticed motion and for good cause shown, may order 3 that specified discovery be conducted notwithstanding this 4 subsection. 5 7. An order granting or denying a special motion to strike 6 shall be appealable under the rules of appellate procedure. 7 8. a. Any party who files a special motion to strike 8 pursuant to this section, and any party who files an opposition 9 to a special motion to strike, shall, promptly upon so 10 filing, transmit to the judicial branch, by electronic mail or 11 facsimile, a copy of the endorsed, filed caption page of the 12 motion or opposition, a copy of any related notice of appeal or 13 petition for a writ, and a conformed copy of any order issued 14 pursuant to this section, including any order granting or 15 denying a special motion to strike, discovery, or fees. 16 b. The judicial branch shall maintain a public record of 17 information transmitted pursuant to this subsection for at 18 least three years, and may store the information on appropriate 19 electronic media. 20 9. This section shall not apply to any enforcement action 21 brought by the attorney general, a district attorney, a 22 county attorney, a city attorney, or any attorney charged with 23 prosecuting violations of state or local laws. 24 EXPLANATION 25 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with 26 the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly. 27 This bill relates to causes of action arising from a person’s 28 participation in matters of public significance. 29 The bill defines an “act in furtherance of the person’s right 30 of petition or free speech under the Constitution of the United 31 States or the Constitution of the State of Iowa in connection 32 with a public issue” to include all of the following: any 33 written or oral statement or writing made before a legislative, 34 executive, or judicial proceeding, or any other official 35 -3- LSB 5584YC (3) 88 ja/jh 3/ 5
H.F. _____ proceeding authorized by law; any written or oral statement or 1 writing made in connection with an issue under consideration or 2 review by a legislative, executive, or judicial body, or any 3 other official proceeding authorized by law; any written or 4 oral statement or writing made in a place open to the public or 5 a public forum in connection with an issue of public interest; 6 and any other conduct in furtherance of the exercise of the 7 constitutional right of petition or the constitutional right 8 of free speech in connection with a public issue or an issue of 9 public interest. 10 The bill provides that causes of action against a person 11 arising from any act or omission of that person in furtherance 12 of the person’s right of petition or free speech in connection 13 with a public issue shall be subject to a special motion to 14 strike. However, such causes of action shall not be subject 15 to a special motion to strike if the court determines the 16 plaintiff has established there is a probability the plaintiff 17 will prevail on the claim. In making this determination, the 18 the court is to consider the pleadings and supporting and 19 opposing affidavits. 20 The bill provides that if the court determines the plaintiff 21 has established a probability that the plaintiff will prevail 22 on the claim, neither that determination nor the fact of that 23 determination shall be admissible in evidence at any later 24 stage of the case, or in any subsequent action. Further, such 25 findings are not to affect the burden of proof or degree of 26 proof otherwise applicable in any later stage of the case or 27 in any subsequent proceeding. 28 The bill provides that a defendant who prevails on a special 29 motion to strike is entitled to recover costs and reasonable 30 attorney fees, unless the cause of action was brought pursuant 31 to Code chapter 21 (open meetings), 22 (open records), or 23 32 (public information board). 33 If the court finds that a special motion to strike is 34 frivolous or is solely intended to cause unnecessary delay, 35 -4- LSB 5584YC (3) 88 ja/jh 4/ 5
H.F. _____ the court must award costs and reasonable attorney fees to the 1 plaintiff prevailing on the motion for costs incurred to oppose 2 the motion. 3 The bill also describes when the special motion is to be 4 filed and when the hearing is to be held. Specifically, the 5 special motion may be filed within 60 days after the service 6 of the complaint or, in the court’s discretion, at any later 7 time. The motion is to be scheduled by the clerk of the court 8 for a hearing not more than 30 days after the service of the 9 motion unless the docket conditions of the court require a 10 later hearing. 11 All discovery proceedings in the action are to be stayed upon 12 the filing of a notice of motion. The stay of discovery is 13 to remain in effect until notice of entry of the order ruling 14 on the motion. However, the court may order that specified 15 discovery be conducted. 16 An order granting or denying a special motion to strike is 17 appealable under the rules of appellate procedure. 18 Information related to these special motions to strike is to 19 be maintained by the judicial branch. Any party who files a 20 special motion to strike and any party who files an opposition 21 to a special motion to strike is required to transmit to the 22 judicial branch information related to the special motion or 23 opposition. The judicial branch is to maintain a public record 24 of such information for at least three years. 25 Finally, the provisions of the bill do not apply to any 26 enforcement action brought by the attorney general, a district 27 attorney, a county attorney, a city attorney, or any attorney 28 charged with prosecuting violations of state or local laws. 29 -5- LSB 5584YC (3) 88 ja/jh 5/ 5
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