Bill Text: NY A08121 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced

Bill Title: Expands the definition of an action involving public petition and participation, adds the public to the definition of public applicant or permittee and includes a definition of the public, and removes knowledge of falsity as an element to be proven by clear and convincing evidence.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-06-03 - referred to judiciary [A08121 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A08121-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK


                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions

                   IN ASSEMBLY

                                      June 3, 2019

        Introduced  by M. of A. EPSTEIN -- read once and referred to the Commit-
          tee on Judiciary

        AN ACT to amend the civil rights law, in relation to  actions  involving
          public petition and participation

          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section 1. Section 76-a of the civil rights law, as added  by  chapter
     2  767 of the laws of 1992, is amended to read as follows:
     3    §  76-a.  Actions  involving  public  petition and participation; when
     4  actual malice to be proven. 1. For purposes of this section:
     5    (a) An "action involving public  petition  and  participation"  is  an
     6  action,  claim,  cross claim or counterclaim for damages that is brought
     7  by a public applicant or permittee[, and is materially  related  to  any
     8  efforts of the defendant to report on, comment on, rule on, challenge or
     9  oppose such application or permission].
    10    (b)  "Public  applicant  or  permittee"  shall mean any person who has
    11  applied for or obtained a permit, zoning change, lease, license, certif-
    12  icate or other entitlement for use or permission to act from any govern-
    13  ment body, or the public, or any person with an interest, connection  or
    14  affiliation  with such person [that is materially related to such appli-
    15  cation or permission].
    16    (c) "Communication" shall mean any statement, claim, allegation  in  a
    17  proceeding,  decision,  protest,  writing, argument, contention or other
    18  expression.
    19    (d) "Government body" shall mean  any  municipality,  the  state,  any
    20  other  political  subdivision or agency of such, the federal government,
    21  any public benefit corporation,  or  any  public  authority,  board,  or
    22  commission.
    23    (e) "Public" shall mean the news media or any other individual materi-
    24  al to the cause of action at issue.

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 8121                             2

     1    2.  In  an action involving public petition and participation, damages
     2  may only be recovered if the plaintiff, in addition to all other  neces-
     3  sary  elements,  shall have established by clear and convincing evidence
     4  that any communication which gives rise to the  action  was  made  [with
     5  knowledge  of  its falsity or] with reckless disregard of whether it was
     6  false, where the truth or falsity of such communication is  material  to
     7  the cause of action at issue.
     8    3.  Nothing  in this section shall be construed to limit any constitu-
     9  tional, statutory or common law protections  of  defendants  to  actions
    10  involving public petition and participation.
    11    §  2.  This  act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall
    12  have become a law, and shall apply to all actions commenced on or  after
    13  such date.