Georgia
Subgrades  
Covered Speech: A
Anti-SLAPP Procedures: A+
Subscores  
Covered Speech: 97 out of 100 points
Anti-SLAPP Procedures: 100 out of 100 points
Detailed Scoring on Anti-SLAPP Procedures  
Suspension of Court Proceedings Upon an Anti-SLAPP Motion: 20 of 20 points
Burden of Proof on Plaintiff to Defeat an Anti-SLAPP Motion: 12 of 12 points
Right to an Immediate Appeal: 25 of 25 points
Award of Costs and Attorney Fees: 40 of 40 points
Expansive Statutory Interpretation Instruction to Courts: 3 of 3 points

State Anti-SLAPP Statute

Georgia’s anti-SLAPP statute[1] protects “(1) Any written or oral statement or writing or petition made before a legislative, executive, or judicial proceeding, or any other official proceeding authorized by law; (2) Any written or oral statement or writing or petition made in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a legislative, executive, or judicial body, or any other official proceeding authorized by law; (3) Any written or oral statement or writing or petition made in a place open to the public or a public forum in connection with an issue of public interest or concern; or (4) Any other conduct in furtherance of the exercise of the constitutional right of petition or free speech in connection with a public issue or an issue of public concern.” (Georgia case law, however, suggests that the scope of the statute should be read narrowly,[2] despite the self-contained instruction that commands broad interpretation described at the end of this paragraph.) Although discovery, pending motions, and hearings are stayed once an anti-SLAPP motion is filed, a court may nonetheless order specified discovery, motions, or other action to be conducted, if good cause is shown. In the event that the respondent is a public figure, that respondent is also entitled to discovery on the sole issue of actual malice if that issue is relevant. To prevail against an anti-SLAPP motion, the respondent must establish a probability of prevailing at trial. The statute provides for interlocutory appeal of an order granting or denying an anti-SLAPP motion. The court must award costs and attorney fees related to the action to the prevailing movant on an anti-SLAPP motion. Conversely, if the court finds the motion to be frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay, then it must award costs and attorney fees related to the motion to the prevailing respondent. In general, the anti-SLAPP statute instructs courts that interpret its language to do so “broadly” – an instruction presumably designed to foil readings of the statute in a cramped or narrow way that would exclude marginal cases.

[1] Ga. Code. Ann. § 9-11-11.1.

[2] Berryhill v. Ga. Cmty. Support & Solutions, Inc., 281 Ga. 439, 638 S.E.2d 278 (Ga. Nov. 28, 2006).

Dan Greenberg & David Keating

https://www.ifs.org/author/dgreenburg/

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