Libel

This section covers the state law governing libel suits. The standards governing such suits are influenced by many things, including whether the subject of a story is a public figure or public official. This also covers the defenses to libel suits, including the "fair report" privilege, the opinion defense and anti-SLAPP laws.

Delaware

The Delaware anti-SLAPP statute protects individuals from legal actions involving public petition and participation. However, such actions are narrowly defined as those brought by a public applicant or permittee in response to the defendant’s statements or other efforts “to report on, rule on, challenge or oppose” that application or permission. Del. Code Ann. tit. 10 8136 (2011).

Mississippi

There is no statute or cases in Mississippi addressing SLAPP suits.

Tennessee

Tennessee has a narrow anti-SLAPP statute that immunizes from civil liability individuals for certain statements they make to governmental agencies. Tenn. Code Ann. 4-21-1003 (2011). Specifically, “[a]ny person who in furtherance of such person’s right of free speech or petition under the Tennessee or United States Constitution in connection with a public or governmental issue communicates information regarding another person or entity to any agency of the federal, state or local government regarding a matter of concern to that agency” is privileged from liability.

District of Columbia

The District of Columbia anti-SLAPP Act of 2010, which went into effect March 31, 2011, applies to suits based on acts “in furtherance of the right of advocacy on issues of public interest.” D.C. Law 18-0351 (2011). Such an act is defined as a statement made in connection with an issue under consideration by a governmental body or one made in a place open to the public or a public forum in connection with an issue of public interest.

Missouri

The Missouri anti-SLAPP law applies to “[a]ny action seeking money damages against a person for conduct or speech undertaken or made in connection with a public hearing or public meeting, in a quasi-judicial proceeding before a tribunal or decision-making body of the state or any political subdivision of the state.” Mo. Rev. Stat. 537.528 (2011).

Montana

There is no statute or cases in Montana addressing SLAPP suits.

Texas

The Texas Citizens Participation Act, which went into effect June 17, 2011, provides a remedy against lawsuits based on statements, made or submitted in any form or medium, in connection with the defendant’s rights of association, free speech or petition. The act broadly defines these rights. Right of association means communication between individuals “who join together to collectively express, promote, pursue, or defend common interests.” Right of free speech means communication made in connection with a matter of public concern.