2002 No Action
2001 No Action
2000 No Action
1998 No Action
1995 No Action
July 3, 1995
TO THE HONORABLE, THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
In accordance with the provisions of RI. Gen. Laws §43-4-1, I am transmitting herewith, with my disapproval, 95-H-6184, Substitute A, "An Act Relating to Courts and Civil Procedure Ñ Limits on Strategic Litigation."
This legislation creates conditional immunity against so-called SLAPP suits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).
This legislation represents the Attorney General's current effort to correct the difficulty encountered by SLAPP suit defendants in securing dismissals where appropriate. This is a worthwhile goal that I support. This legislation, however, over compensates for the present problem by setting unreasonable and unworkable standards of proof Under this legislation, it is virtually impossible for the party opposing an assertion of qualified immunity to meet both the objective and subjective tests (as defined) in order to defeat such immunity. Further, the wording of the subjective test is awkward, at best. I am aware of no other state which confers qualified immunity on a defendant and then requires a plaintiff to meet such a high standard in order to abrogate that immunity. This process unnecessarily restricts a plaintiffs right to use the courts to redress perceived civil wrongs.
Although I cannot support this legislation in its present form. I anticipate working with the Attorney General to draft legislation which would provide a more appropriate balance between the constitutional rights of the respective parties. For these reasons, I disapprove of this legislation and respectfully urge your support of this veto.