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SF 3974

as introduced - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 03/05/2020 09:21am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to civil law; creating a cause of action to protect free speech in connection
with public issues; repealing the existing protection for citizens to participate in
government; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 554;
repealing Minnesota Statutes 2018, sections 554.02; 554.045.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

new text begin [554.021] CAUSE OF ACTION FOR PROTECTION OF RIGHT TO
PARTICIPATE IN GOVERNMENT.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Cause of action. new text end

new text begin A cause of action against a person arising from any act
of that person in furtherance of the person's right of petition or free speech under the United
States Constitution or the Minnesota Constitution in connection with a public issue is subject
to a motion to dispose of a judicial claim, unless the court determines that the responding
party has established that there is a probability that the responding party will prevail on the
claim. In making its determination, the court shall consider the pleadings and supporting
and opposing affidavits stating the facts upon which the liability or defense is based. If the
court determines that the responding party has established a probability that the responding
party will prevail on the claim, neither that determination nor the fact of that determination
is admissible in evidence at any later stage of the case, or in any subsequent action, and no
burden of proof or degree of proof otherwise applicable shall be affected by that
determination in any later stage of the case or in any subsequent proceeding. This section
does not apply to any enforcement action brought in the name of the people of the state of
Minnesota by the attorney general, district attorney, or city attorney, acting as a public
prosecutor.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Procedure. new text end

new text begin A motion filed under this section must be filed within 60 days of
the service of the complaint or, in the court's discretion, at any later time upon terms it deems
proper. The motion shall be scheduled by the clerk of the court for a hearing not more than
30 days after the service of the motion unless the docket conditions of the court require a
later hearing. All discovery proceedings in the action shall be stayed upon the filing of a
notice of motion made pursuant to this section. The stay of discovery remains in effect until
notice of entry of the order ruling on the motion. The court, on noticed motion and for good
cause shown, may order that specified discovery be conducted notwithstanding this
subdivision.
new text end

Sec. 2. new text beginREPEALER.
new text end

new text begin Minnesota Statutes 2018, sections 554.02; and 554.045, new text end new text begin are repealed.
new text end

APPENDIX

Repealed Minnesota Statutes: 20-6606

554.02 PROTECTION OF CITIZENS TO PARTICIPATE IN GOVERNMENT.

Subdivision 1.

Applicability.

This section applies to any motion in a judicial proceeding to dispose of a judicial claim on the grounds that the claim materially relates to an act of the moving party that involves public participation.

Subd. 2.

Procedure.

On the filing of any motion described in subdivision 1:

(1) discovery must be suspended pending the final disposition of the motion, including any appeal; provided that the court may, on motion and after a hearing and for good cause shown, order that specified and limited discovery be conducted;

(2) the responding party has the burden of proof, of going forward with the evidence, and of persuasion on the motion;

(3) the court shall grant the motion and dismiss the judicial claim unless the court finds that the responding party has produced clear and convincing evidence that the acts of the moving party are not immunized from liability under section 554.03; and

(4) any governmental body to which the moving party's acts were directed or the attorney general's office may intervene in, defend, or otherwise support the moving party.

554.045 ACTION IN DISTRICT COURT.

A person may bring an action under this section in state district court against a respondent who has brought a claim in federal court that materially relates to public participation by the person. If the person demonstrates that the respondent's action in federal court was brought for the purpose of harassment, to inhibit the person's public participation, to interfere with the person's exercise of protected constitutional rights, or otherwise wrongfully injure the person, the court shall award the person actual damages and reasonable attorney fees and costs. The court may award the person punitive damages under section 549.20.