Covered Speech: A+
Anti-SLAPP Procedures: A-
Covered Speech: 100 out of 100 points
Anti-SLAPP Procedures: 91 out of 100 points
Detailed Scoring on Anti-SLAPP Procedures  
Suspension of Court Proceedings Upon an Anti-SLAPP Motion: 18 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: 36 of 40 points
Expansive Statutory Interpretation Instruction to Courts: 0 of 3 points

State Anti-SLAPP Statute

Vermont’s anti-SLAPP statute[1] protects the exercise, “in connection with a public issue, of the right to freedom of speech or to petition the government;” the scope and boundaries of these rights are defined extensively. Although discovery is stayed once an anti-SLAPP motion is filed, a court may nonetheless order limited discovery to be conducted if good cause is shown. To prevail against an anti-SLAPP motion, the respondent must show that the movant’s communications were devoid of any reasonable factual support and any arguable basis in law and that the movant’s acts caused actual injury to the responding party. If the court grants or denies the anti-SLAPP motion, the statute provides for a right to file an interlocutory appeal. A court must award costs and attorney fees to the prevailing movant on an anti-SLAPP motion; conversely, if the court finds that the motion is frivolous or intended solely to cause unnecessary delay, it must award costs and attorney fees to the respondent. 

[1] Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 12 § 1041.

Dan Greenberg, David Keating, & Helen Knowles-Gardner