Strategic lawsuits against public participation; special motion to dismiss, stay of discovery. (HB759)

Introduced By

Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg (D-Henrico) with support from co-patrons Del. Sally Hudson (D-Charlottesville), and Del. Jay Jones (D-Norfolk)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Strategic lawsuits against public participation; special motion to dismiss; stay of discovery; fees and costs. Establishes a procedure by which a party alleging that a claim filed against him is a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP), as defined in the bill, may file a special motion to dismiss. The bill provides that the filing of such a special motion to dismiss shall stay discovery proceedings related to the claim, pending the entry of an order adjudicating the special motion to dismiss. The bill provides that a court shall award reasonable expenses related to a special motion to dismiss, including attorney fees and costs, if the moving party prevails, in whole or in part, on such a special motion. The bill allows the court to award such reasonable expenses to a prevailing responding party to a special motion to dismiss if the court finds that such a motion was filed in bad faith or solely with the intent to delay the underlying proceedings. Read the Bill »


02/24/2020: Passed the Senate


01/07/2020Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20104817D
01/07/2020Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/30/2020Assigned Courts sub: Civil
02/03/2020Subcommittee recommends reporting with substitute (5-Y 2-N)
02/07/2020Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (10-Y 6-N) (see vote tally)
02/07/2020Committee substitute printed 20107492D-H1
02/09/2020Read first time
02/10/2020Read second time
02/10/2020Committee substitute agreed to 20107492D-H1
02/10/2020Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB759H1
02/11/2020Read third time and passed House (64-Y 34-N)
02/11/2020VOTE: Passage (64-Y 34-N) (see vote tally)
02/12/2020Constitutional reading dispensed
02/12/2020Referred to Committee on the Judiciary
02/19/2020Reported from Judiciary with substitute (13-Y 1-N) (see vote tally)
02/19/2020Committee substitute printed 20108626D-S1
02/21/2020Constitutional reading dispensed (32-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/24/2020Read third time
02/24/2020Reading of substitute waived
02/24/2020Committee substitute agreed to 20108626D-S1
02/24/2020Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute HB759S1
02/24/2020Passed Senate with substitute (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/26/2020VOTE: Adoption (0-Y 96-N) (see vote tally)
02/26/2020Placed on Calendar
02/26/2020Senate substitute rejected by House 20108626D-S1 (0-Y 96-N)
02/26/2020VOTE: REJECTED (0-Y 96-N) (see vote tally)
02/28/2020Senate insisted on substitute (38-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/28/2020Senate requested conference committee
03/02/2020House acceded to request
03/02/2020Conferees appointed by House
03/02/2020Delegates: VanValkenburg, Simon, Kilgore
03/03/2020Conferees appointed by Senate
03/03/2020Senators: Edwards, Petersen, Chafin
03/12/2020No further action taken
03/12/2020Failed to pass in House