Oregon has a strong anti-SLAPP law. To challenge a SLAPP suit in Oregon, a defendant must show that he or she is being sued for one of four types of free speech or petition activities: statements made before a legislative, executive, or judicial proceeding; statements made in connection with an issue under consideration by a government body; statements made in a place open to the public or a public forum in connection with an issue of public interest; and any other conduct in furtherance of the exercise of free speech and petition rights in connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest. Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 31.150 (2018). Courts have applied this law to protect journalists who are sued in connection with their reporting. Mullen v. Meredith Corp., 353 P.3d 598, 608 (Or. Ct. App. 2015).
The Oregon anti-SLAPP law allows a defendant to file a motion to strike the complaint, which the court will hear within 30 days of its filing unless the docket is overbooked. § 31.152(1). Discovery activities are placed on hold from the time the motion is filed until the court has ruled on it, although the judge may permit discovery if the requesting party can show good cause for it. § 31.152(2).
In ruling on the motion to strike, an Oregon court will first determine whether the defendant established that the lawsuit arose from a protected speech or petition activity. § 31.150(3). If that is the case, the judge will grant the motion unless the plaintiff can introduce substantial evidence of a probability of prevailing on the claim. Id. In making this determination, the court will consider the plaintiff’s complaint, the SLAPP defendant’s motion to strike, and any sworn statements containing facts on which the assertions in those documents are based. § 31.150(4).
If the court grants the motion to strike, it must impose reasonable attorney’s fees and costs on the plaintiff. § 31.152(3). Conversely, the defendant must pay the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees and costs if the court finds that the motion to strike was frivolous or brought solely to delay the proceedings. Id.