Covered Speech: A+
Anti-SLAPP Procedures: A+
Covered Speech: 100 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

Hawaii’s anti-SLAPP statute,[1] the Hawaii Public Expression Act, was signed into law in 2022. As stated in the law, “The purpose of this Act is to enact the Uniform Public Expression Protection Act” (UPEPA). Mirroring the model bill from the Uniform Law Commission, Hawaii’s law now applies to any “exercise of the right of freedom of speech or of the press, the right to assemble or petition, or the right of association, guaranteed by the United States Constitution or the Hawaii State Constitution, on a matter of public concern.” Although discovery is stayed once an anti-SLAPP motion is filed, a court may nonetheless order limited discovery “if a party shows that specific information is necessary to establish whether a party has satisfied or failed to satisfy” the burden of proof related to the order and that information is not “reasonably available without discovery.” A voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit by the respondent “shall not affect a moving party’s right to obtain a ruling” and to “seek costs, attorney’s fees, and reasonable litigation expenses.” The statute provides for interlocutory appeal of an order denying an anti-SLAPP motion. The court must award costs, attorney fees, and reasonable litigation expenses related to the action to the prevailing movant on an anti-SLAPP motion. Conversely, if the court finds the motion to be “frivolous or filed solely with intent to delay the proceeding,” then it must award costs and attorney fees related to the motion to the prevailing respondent. This law is a dramatic improvement on Hawaii’s previously enacted anti-SLAPP statute, the Citizen Participation in Government Act, which earned a “D” grade in our 2022 report. 

[1]  Haw. Rev. Stat. § 634G.

Dan Greenberg, David Keating, & Helen Knowles-Gardner