Oklahoma has a strong anti-SLAPP law known as the Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act. It allows a defendant to move for dismissal if the lawsuit is based on the defendant’s exercise of free speech, right to petition, or right of association. Okla. Stat. tit. 12 § 1432(A) (2019). The defendant must file a motion to dismiss within 60 days from the “date of service of the legal action.” § 1432(B). Upon the filing of a motion to dismiss, the court will generally stay all discovery until it rules on the motion, § 1432(C), although the court may — on a showing of good cause — “allow specified and limited discovery relevant to the motion to dismiss,” § 1435(B).
To prevail on a motion to dismiss, the moving party must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the legal action is “based on, relates to, or is in response to the party’s exercise of” one of the three protected rights. § 1434(B). However, the court must not dismiss the case if the plaintiff establishes “by clear and specific evidence a prima facie case for each essential element of the claim in question.” § 1434(C). In making its determination, the court must consider the pleadings and any affidavits stating the facts on which the liability or defense is based. § 1435(A).
A party may immediately appeal a trial court’s ruling on an anti-SLAPP motion—or its failure to rule on such a motion within the prescribed 30-day time frame, § 1436(B)—and the appellate court must expedite the appeal. § 1437(B).
If the trial court grants the anti-SLAPP motion, the court must award attorney’s fees and costs to the moving party but only if the court determines that “justice and equity” require it. § 1438(A)(1). The court may also sanction the party who brought the SLAPP suit “as the court determines sufficient to deter the party who brought the legal action from bringing similar actions.” § 1438(A)(2). However, if the trial court finds that the motion to dismiss is “frivolous or solely intended to delay, the court may award court costs and reasonable attorney fees to the responding party.” § 1438(B).