(a) For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the meaning ascribed herein:
(1) An “action involving public petition and participation” is an action, claim, cross-claim or counterclaim for damages that is brought by a public applicant or permittee, and is materially related to any efforts of the defendant to report on, rule on, challenge or oppose such application or permission.
(2) ”Communication” shall mean any statement, claim or allegation in a proceeding, decision, protest, writing, argument, contention or other expression.
(3) ”Government body” shall mean the State and any county, city, town, village or any other political subdivision of the State; any public improvement or special district, public authority, commission, agency or public benefit corporation; any other separate corporate instrumentality or unit of State or local government; or the federal government.
(4) ”Public applicant or permittee” shall mean any person who has applied for or obtained a permit, zoning change, lease, license, certificate or other entitlement for use or permission to act from any government body, or any person with an interest, connection or affiliation with such person that is materially related to such application or permission.
Terms Used In Delaware Code Title 10 Sec. 8136
- Allegation: something that someone says happened.
- Common law: The legal system that originated in England and is now in use in the United States. It is based on judicial decisions rather than legislative action.
- Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
- Counterclaim: A claim that a defendant makes against a plaintiff.
- Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
- Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
- Entitlement: A Federal program or provision of law that requires payments to any person or unit of government that meets the eligibility criteria established by law. Entitlements constitute a binding obligation on the part of the Federal Government, and eligible recipients have legal recourse if the obligation is not fulfilled. Social Security and veterans' compensation and pensions are examples of entitlement programs.
- Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
- Lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
- Plaintiff: The person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit.
- State: means the State of Delaware; and when applied to different parts of the United States, it includes the District of Columbia and the several territories and possessions of the United States. See Delaware Code Title 6 Sec. 4307
(b) In an action involving public petition and participation, damages may only be recovered if the plaintiff, in addition to all other necessary elements, shall have established by clear and convincing evidence that any communication which gives rise to the action was made with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard of whether it was false, where the truth or falsity of such communication is material to the cause of action at issue.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit any constitutional, statutory or common-law protection of defendants to actions involving public petition and participation.