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Daniel Novack (left) and Christina Lee. (Courtesy photos)

For nearly three decades, New York—the nation’s media capital—has had one of the country’s least protective Anti-SLAPP statutes. These statutes—designed to protect our First Amendment rights from frivolous litigation—generally [1] impose heightened pleading standards for claims predicated on speech and provide for fee shifting for prevailing defendants.

On Nov. 10, 2020, New York enacted legislation intended to strengthen free speech protections by modifying its nearly 30-year-old Anti-SLAPP law. But the vitality of these new protections will depend heavily on how courts interpret a key concept in the statute—whether a plaintiff’s case has a “substantial basis.”

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