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  • Summary date: Apr 7 2011 - View Summary

    Enacts new Chapter 1F to the General Statutes, cited as the Citizen Participation Act, to protect and encourage citizen participation in government, support the operations of representative government, and establish a comprehensive process to adjudicate lawsuits against public participation. Defines government action as any project, plan, determination, permit, approval, or any other step taken by government under state or federal law. Includes other definitions applicable to new GS Chapter 1F. Provides immunity from civil liability in NC for: (1) any written or oral statement made before a government proceeding; (2) any written or oral statement made to government in connection with an issue under government review or made with the genuine aim to influence a government action or proceeding; and (3) any written or oral statement made to the public or in a public forum relating to an issue of government interest and genuinely aimed to influence a government action or proceeding.
    Creates a special motion to dismiss applicable to a judicial claim against a person that could reasonably be based on, relating to, or in response to an immune act under GS Chapter 1F. Allows the special motion to dismiss to be filed within 30 days of the service of the judicial claim, or at a later time at the court’s discretion. Details additional provisions related to the special motion to dismiss and court procedures. Specifies that the moving party has a right of immediate appeal from a trial court’s order denying the special motion, or from a trial court’s failure to rule on the special motion in an expedited manner. Directs the court to award to a successful moving party: (1) costs of litigation, including reasonable attorney and expert witness fees, and (2) additional sanctions on the responding party and attorneys sufficient to deter repetitive conduct and comparable conduct by others similarly situated, if the court finds that the responding party brought the judicial claim to harass, inhibit, interfere, or otherwise injure the moving party. Includes legislative findings and sets forth other provisions detailing statutory construction.
    Applies to judicial proceedings initiated on or after the act becomes law.