Colorado enacted a strong anti-SLAPP law in 2019. It allows defendants to file a special motion to dismiss claims arising from the exercise of their rights of petition or free speech in connection with a public issue. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-20-1101(3)(a). A court will grant such motions unless the plaintiff establishes “a reasonable likelihood” of prevailing on the claim. § 13-20-1101(3)(c). To make this determination, the court will consider the pleadings and supporting and opposing affidavits stating the facts upon which the liability or defense is based. § 13-20-1101(3)(b).
A special motion to dismiss must be filed within 63 days after service of the complaint, unless the defendant obtains permission to file it later. § 13-20-1101(5).
Once a special motion to dismiss has been filed, the court will issue a stay of discovery that will remain until the court rules on the motion. § 13-20-1101(6). The court may, however, for good cause shown, permit specified discovery during this time. Id.
The order granting or denying the special motion to dismiss is immediately appealable to the Colorado Court of Appeals. § 13-20-1101(7).
A defendant who prevails on a special motion to dismiss is entitled to recover attorney’s fees and costs unless the cause of action is brought pursuant to the state’s Open Meetings Law, Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 24-6-402 (2019), or Open Records Act, Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 24-72-204 (2019). § 13-20-1101(4)(b). However, if a court finds that a defendant’s special motion to dismiss is frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay, it shall award attorney’s fees and costs to the plaintiff. § 13-20-1101(4)(a).