Anti-SLAPP

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The defendant's application to the IRS to qualify an organization as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization was a protected activity under CCP 425.16(e)(1) or (2).  It was a submission in an official proceeding before an executive agency whose action was not purely ministerial but involved the exercise of judgment and discretion.  By contrast, filing of articles of incorporation and a statement… Read More

The district court properly granted defendant's Anti-SLAPP motion.  Anti-SLAPP motions do not conflict with federal procedure and so may properly be brought in federal court on diversity claims governed by California law.  Shady Grove Orthopedic Associates, P.A. v. Allstate Ins. Co. (2010) 559 U.S. 393 did not overrule or undermine prior 9th Circuit authority so holding.  Plaintiff could not show… Read More

To determine whether speech or other conduct falls within the scope of CCP 425.16(e)(4)'s catchall provision, the court must make a two-step analysis, first asking what public issue or issue of public interest the defendant's conduct or speech implicates, and second asking what functional relationship exists between the speech and the public conversation about that issue of public interest--i.e., whether… Read More

The trial court correctly denied defendants' Anti-SLAPP motion to strike plaintiff's claims under the UCL and CLRA based on defendants' allegedly false statements in releases or other statements and advertisements that Michael Jackson was the lead artist on all tracks in a posthumous CD.  Even if the defendants' statements were protected speech under CCP 425.16(e), plaintiff showed a probability of… Read More

The trial court erred in denying defendant attorney fees under the Anti-SLAPP statute when defendant prevailed on the motion to strike as to the abuse of process claim, though not as to the malicious prosecution claim.  Fees must be awarded to the moving defendant upon partial success of the motion, though the amount of the fee award is properly proportioned… Read More

Four individuals protested the Golden Gate racetrack's allegedly improper treatment of race horses by sneaking onto the track, linking their arms by PVC pipes and lying across the track in a manner that prevented the racetrack from holding races.  The racetrack owner sued the four individuals for trespass and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, naming Direct Action as an… Read More

Plaintiff sued for defamation, alleging that defendants falsely told several reporters that plaintiff had provided explicit nude photographs of Bezos to the National Enquirer as part of a conspiracy to damage Bezos.  On defendants' Anti-SLAPP motion, plaintiff's only evidence was his declaration stating that several news reporters had told him that Bezos told them plaintiff had given the photos to… Read More

Plaintiffs sued claiming they had been sexually molested while minors by a Roman Catholic priest.  They sought to hold the Archdiocese vicariously liable for ratifying the molestation and directly liable for its own negligence in failing to supervise the priest.  The trial court correctly denied the Archdiocese's Anti-SLAPP motion.  The allegations about the Bishop's supporting the priest's defense of another… Read More

The trial court correctly denied this lawyer-defendant's Anti-SLAPP motion, finding that this suit to collect the agreed price for its services was not based on protected speech.  The fraud and concealment claim brought against the lawyer was for misrepresentations and concealments about the client-buyer's financial condition which induced plaintiff to enter into the services contract.  Communications at the pre-contract stage… Read More

Following Charnay v. Cobert (2006) 145 Cal.App.4th 170 and E-Pass Technologies, Inc. v. Moses & Singer, LLP (2010) 189 Cal.App.4th 1140, this decision reverses a summary judgment for the defendant attorneys in this malpractice action based on the allegation that the attorneys failed to warn plaintiff of the disadvantages of bringing the underlying suit in California where the defendant could… Read More

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that neither party prevailed or was entitled to an attorney fee award under the Davis-Stirling Act (Civ. Code 5975(e)) or the private attorney general statute (CCP 1021.5) in this suit by a condo owner against the condo association.  Although plaintiff obtained a preliminary injunction and prevailed in forcing the condo… Read More

The automatic stay on appeal prevents the trial court from entering a voluntary dismissal of the action while the case is on appeal from an interlocutory order (such as here, an order denying an Anti-SLAPP motion) because dismissal of the case would affect the Court of Appeal's jurisdiction over the appeal.  Furthermore, even if it were otherwise effective, a voluntary… Read More

When an Anti-SLAPP motion attacks a mixed cause of action, the motion must identify the portions of the cause of action that allege protected activity, but when the motion attacks an entire cause of action, it does not need to identify the activity at issue, since by default it claims that all activity mentioned in the cause of action is… Read More

The district court denied defendant's Anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss the first amended complaint's defamation claims but granted defendant's motion to dismiss the other claims with leave to amend.  Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint before defendant appealed from the order denying the Anti-SLAPP motion.  This decision holds that the filing of the second amended complaint mooted the appeal from the… Read More

Defendant attorney's threats to reveal plaintiff's alleged crimes to a merger partner when coupled with a demand to settle the defendant's client's employment claims constituted extortion.  Extortion is the threat to reveal damaging information if money isn't paid.  There is no need to prove that the threat has been carried out.  Extortion is not protected speech.  Flatley v. Mauro (2006)… Read More

Owners of adjoining apartments mediated Doe's civil harassment prevention action, reaching an agreement that provided, among other things, that the parties agree not to disparage one another.  This decision holds that read in light of the limited nature of the action and surrounding circumstances, the provision could not reasonably be read to ban Doe from saying negative things about Olson… Read More

A defendant that files an Anti-SLAPP motion to strike under CCP 425.16 may seek attorney fees (based on prevailing on the Anti-SLAPP motion) in one of three ways:  as part of the Anti-SLAPP motion, by a post-judgment memorandum of costs, or by a post-judgment motion for an attorney fee award.  This decision holds that if the defendant chooses either of… Read More

The trial court erred in granting defendant's Anti-SLAPP motion to strike this defamation action.  Defendant was a competitor of plaintiff in selling life insurance and wealth management services to Chinese and Chinese-American clients.  Plaintiff alleged that defendant had falsely told insurance agents and one client that plaintiff was dishonest and unethical in her business practices and falsified insurance documents.  Before… Read More

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