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Black wooden paragraphIn August 2019, we wrote about a draft bill to amend New York’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) statutes. On Nov. 10, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed the bill into law (L. 2020, ch. 250).

At just two pages long, the bill might not seem like much at first glance. In actuality, it changes New York’s anti-SLAPP law from one of the country’s narrowest to perhaps the strongest. It accomplishes this in three primary ways: First, the new law mandates, rather than simply permits, that the target of an actionable SLAPP recover costs and attorney fees. Previously, judges often exercised their discretion under the old law and chose not to award them. Second, the law lowers the threshold for determining that a SLAPP is actionable. Third, the law greatly expands the kind of lawsuits that qualify as SLAPPs. As we explain below, these changes carry the potential for a sharp spike in anti-SLAPP litigation and recoveries.

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