Maine

Maine’s anti-SLAPP law protects against claims based on a person’s exercise of his right of petition under the federal or state constitutions. Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 14, 556 (2011). Under the statute, the petition right includes five categories of activities: statements made before a legislative, executive or judicial proceeding; statements made in connection with an issue under consideration by a governmental body; statements reasonably likely to encourage a governmental body’s consideration of an issue; statements reasonably likely to enlist public participation in an effort to bring about such governmental consideration; and any other statements protected by the constitutional right to petition the government.

The Maine anti-SLAPP statute gives defendants the ability to move to dismiss claims that infringe the exercise of the petition right. The law requires the court to hear and decide the motion “with as little delay as possible.” Discovery activities are placed on hold from the time the motion is filed until the court has ruled on it, although the judge, after a hearing on the matter, may order discovery to be conducted if the requesting party can show good cause for it. The judge will grant the motion unless the plaintiff can show that the defendant’s claimed exercise of the petition right lacked any reasonable factual support or arguable basis in law and his acts caused actual injury to the plaintiff. In making this determination, a Maine court will consider the plaintiff’s complaint and the SLAPP defendant’s motion to dismiss and any sworn statements containing facts on which the assertions in those documents are based. Maine’s anti-SLAPP statute includes a provision allowing the state attorney general, on his own behalf or on behalf of any governmental body to which the SLAPP defendant’s acts were directed, to intervene to defend or otherwise support the defendant on the motion to dismiss.

If the court grants the motion to dismiss, it may — but is not required to — order the plaintiff to pay the prevailing SLAPP defendant’s costs and attorney fees.