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Anti-SLAPP

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Former nanny sued parent-employers on four wage-and-hour claims and also for defamation based on statements parents made to a friend the parents involved in an attempt to obtain a release of claims by the nanny in exchange for a severance package.  Held, the statements were not protected speech under the Anti-SLAPP statute since litigation was not then threatened or seriously… Read More

Plaintiff made a sufficient showing of constitutional "malice"--i.e., knowledge of falsity or reckless with respect to truth--to survive an Anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss.  In this case, plaintiff, an opposing candidate, sued Maxine Waters for falsely accusing him of having been dishonorably discharged by the Navy.  Plaintiff showed Waters an official-looking document saying he was honorably discharged.  Waters didn't investigate whether… Read More

Reversing an Anti-SLAPP order striking plaintiff's complaint, this decision holds that Civ. Code 1788.17 incorporates into the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the strict liability standard of 15 USC 1692(e) for false statements made in collecting a debt or regarding the legal status of the debt.  Thus, the debt collector may be held liable under the Rosenthal Act for… Read More

Former paramour sued current flame for intentional interference with paramour's settlement agreement with her ex.  Flame was a lawyer.  She satisfied her burden on the first step of the Anti-SLAPP analysis by showing that the interference claim was based on flame's counseling ex in anticipation of litigation with paramour.  This was protected activity whether the ex was already flame's client… Read More

When an Anti-SLAPP defendant lodges a factual challenge, district courts may properly consider extrinsic evidence in evaluating whether a defendant has met her prima facie burden under either step of the Anti-SLAPP analysis.   If a defendant moves to strike “on purely legal arguments,” courts must analyze the motion under Rules 8 and 12, but where a defendant asserts “a factual… Read More

The trial court correctly denied the Anti-SLAPP motion brought by Kaufman who was named as the real party in interest in this petition for writ of administrative mandamus to challenge San Francisco's approval of Kaufman's building permit and mitigated negative declaration under CEQA to remodel a home in the city.  Though Kaufman's successful appeal to the city from its planning… Read More

The trial court properly granted defendants' Anti-SLAPP motion.  Despite plaintiff's allegation that defendant had engaged in extortion, this case was distinguishable from Flatley v. Mauro (2006) 39 Cal.4th 299 because defendant denied that he had threatened to report plaintiff to the State Bar unless he settled defendant's client's suit for refund of an unearned retainer fee.  His emails, though contentious,… Read More

This decision affirms an Anti-SLAPP dismissal of a malicious prosecution action against a mandatory reporter of elder abuse for an allegedly knowingly false report of elder abuse by plaintiff, accusing her of attempting to kill an elder by smothering him with a pillow.  Plaintiff also claimed that defendant then coerced the elder into corroborating the false report, leading to criminal… Read More

This decision affirms an order denying an Anti-SLAPP motion brought against a trust beneficiary's surcharge action against the trustee for wasting the trust's funds in pursuing meritless litigation.  The decision determines that the gist of the action and the harm alleged is the waste of trust funds--unprotected conduct--not the filing and funding of the meritless litigation which would be protected… Read More

The trial court correctly granted defendant's anti-SLAPP motion to strike plaintiff's Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act suit because plaintiff could not show a likelihood of prevailing on the claim.  Civ. Code 1788.17 incorporates provisions of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, including 15 USC 1692e which forbids false statements in attempts to collect debts and misrepresentation of the… Read More

The trial court correctly granted defendant's anti-SLAPP motion to strike plaintiff's Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act suit because plaintiff could not show a likelihood of prevailing on the claim.  Civ. Code 1788.17 incorporates provisions of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, including 15 USC 1692e which forbids false statements in attempts to collect debts and misrepresentation of the… Read More

In a suit between step-siblings of a 96-year old multi-millionaire, this decision holds that the trial court properly denied an Anti-SLAPP motion to strike the plaintiffs' claim for an elder abuse restraining order.  The claim did not arise from the defendants' protected litigation activities but from their non-protected acts of isolating the 96-year-old and causing him anxiety by importuning him… Read More

The city sued Cordoba for submitting fraudulent invoices under a contract for it to provide consulting services in connection with a proposed solar energy farm.  Cordoba cross-complained, alleging that the city breached the contract by disputing the invoices after the 30-day limit provided for in the contract and breached the covenant of good faith by investigating the fraud.  The cross-complaint… Read More

The trial court correctly denied defendant's Anti-SLAPP motion to strike this malicious prosecution action, finding plaintiff had established the probable validity of the malicious prosecution claim as to two causes of action in the underlying action, for violation of a municipal ordinance governing approval of demolition projects and for violation of CEQA.  The municipal ordinance claim was baseless since the… Read More

The trial court abused its discretion in granting defendant school's Anti-SLAPP motion to strike the plaintiff teacher's defamation complaint insofar as it was based on the termination letter the school sent the teacher and on the termination decision itself.  While the termination decision and letter related to an issue of public importance--protecting current and former students from teachers' sexual advances--neither… Read More

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding plaintiff its attorney fees in opposing defendant's Anti-SLAPP motion to strike.  Plaintiff's claim arose from false representations the defendant developer made to the Rocklin City Council about his ability to develop a financially viable family theme park in the Rocklin Quarry.  Though the representations were made in an official proceeding,… Read More

Following Malin v. Singer (2013) 217 Cal.App.4th 1283, this decision holds that an attorney's letter responding to plaintiff's lawyer's demand letter was protected speech under CCP 425.16(e) and not illegal extortion as a matter of law so as to invoke the Flatley v. Mauro (2006) 39 Cal.4th 299 exception.  The letter mentioned that plaintiff should consider the consequences of suing,… Read More

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

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