Senate Bill 1095 prevents Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs)

PHILADELPHIA (Sept 12, 2013) – State Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Phila.) today introduced legislation to protect community groups against SLAPPs, or Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. SLAPPs are used to deter critics from taking certain actions by forcing them to pay the high and ongoing costs of a legal defense. Farnese’s legislation would allow those who are wrongfully sued to more easily have their case dismissed or recover attorney fees if they win the lawsuit.

Farnese introduced the legislation after SLAPPs forced the Old City Civic Association to stop weighing in on zoning and liquor licensing matters and disband after 40 years of existence because they could not afford their insurance premiums.

“Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods, and when hard working associations have to close their doors after decades of service because they can’t pay their insurance premiums, something is wrong,” said Farnese. “Whether in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie or Gettysburg, neighborhood and community associations do good work and deserve to be protected from the unhappy few who use SLAPP suits as a form of punishment.”

Twenty-seven states have adopted anti-SLAPP legislation. In 2000, Pennsylvania passed limited anti-SLAPP legislation that applies only to environmental law and regulatory processes. The bill, which is attached, makes changes to Title 42 of the Pennsylvania Code.

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Senator Larry Farnese was elected to the Senate in 2008 to represent Pennsylvania’s First Senatorial District which contains some of Philadelphia’s most unique and vibrant neighborhoods from Port Richmond on the Delaware River to Fairmount Park on the Schuylkill River and South Philadelphia, Center City, the Navy Yard, Philadelphia International Airport.  Senator Farnese serves as the Democratic Chair of the Communications and Technology Committee.  He is also a member of the Appropriations Committee, Banking and Insurance Committee, the Law and Justice Committee and the Judiciary Committee.  His District Office is located at 1802 S. Broad Street in Philadelphia, PA (ph: 215-952-3121) and his Harrisburg Office is located at 543 Main Capitol in Harrisburg, PA (ph: 717-787-5662).  More information about the Senator and his initiatives is available at www.senatorfarnese.com.

 

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