Kansas adopted a strong anti-SLAPP law in 2016. Known as the Public Speech Protection Act, it allows a party to move to strike a claim that is in response to “a party’s exercise of the right of free speech, right to petition or right of association.” Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-5320(d) (2019). Once the defendant shows that the claim is based on one of these constitutional rights, the burden shifts to the plaintiff “to establish a likelihood of prevailing on the claim by presenting substantial competent evidence to support a prima facie case.” Id. If the defendant fails to meet its burden or if the plaintiff meets its burden, the court will dismiss the motion to strike. Id.
Upon filing a motion to strike, “all discovery, motions or other pending hearings shall be stayed.” § 60-5320(e)(2). However, the court may allow limited discovery relevant to the motion to strike. § 60-5320(e)(1). If the court denies the motion to strike, the defendant may file an immediate appeal. § 60-5320(f).
If the court grants the motion to strike, the defendant is entitled to recover attorney’s fees and court costs from the plaintiff. § 60-5320(g). A court may award additional relief, including sanctions, to deter future conduct by others. Id. However, if the court finds the motion to strike was “frivolous or solely intended to cause delay,” the court must award attorney’s fees and costs to the plaintiff. Id.