Code of the District of Columbia

§ 16–5502. Special motion to dismiss.

(a) A party may file a special motion to dismiss any claim arising from an act in furtherance of the right of advocacy on issues of public interest within 45 days after service of the claim.

(b) If a party filing a special motion to dismiss under this section makes a prima facie showing that the claim at issue arises from an act in furtherance of the right of advocacy on issues of public interest, then the motion shall be granted unless the responding party demonstrates that the claim is likely to succeed on the merits, in which case the motion shall be denied.

(c)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, upon the filing of a special motion to dismiss, discovery proceedings on the claim shall be stayed until the motion has been disposed of.

(2) When it appears likely that targeted discovery will enable the plaintiff to defeat the motion and that the discovery will not be unduly burdensome, the court may order that specified discovery be conducted. Such an order may be conditioned upon the plaintiff paying any expenses incurred by the defendant in responding to such discovery.

(d) The court shall hold an expedited hearing on the special motion to dismiss, and issue a ruling as soon as practicable after the hearing. If the special motion to dismiss is granted, dismissal shall be with prejudice.


(Mar. 31, 2011, D.C. Law 18-351, § 3, 58 DCR 741; Apr. 20, 2012, D.C. Law 19-120, § 201, 58 DCR 11235; Sept. 26, 2012, D.C. Law 19-171, § 401, 59 DCR 6190.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 16-5504.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 19-120, in subsec. (c)(2), substituted “specified discovery” for “specialized discovery”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 201 of Receiving Stolen Property and Public Safety Amendments Emergency Amendment Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-261, December 21, 2011, 58 DCR 11232).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 201 of Receiving Stolen Property and Public Safety Amendments Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-326, March 19, 2012, 59 DCR 2384).

Editor's Notes

Section 401 of D.C. Law 19-171 enacted this chapter into law.