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Defamation

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The district court erred in dismissing the plaintiff police officers' defamation complaint against a city council member for her telling a crowd that that a fatal shooting by the police constituted “a blatant murder at the hands of the police,” and calling for the Seattle Police Department to be held accountable “for their . . . individual actions.”  It was… Read More

Plaintiff introduced sufficient evidence to establish a probability of success on his defamation and false light invasion of privacy claims to overcome defendant's Anti-SLAPP motion.  Plaintiff is a world record holder in a number of computer arcade games.  Defendant facilitates video game competitions and runs a website with leaderboards showing top scorers on the games.  After receiving a complaint from… Read More

Plaintiff runs two bakery stores in Los Angeles.  It baked a birthday cake for defendant's child.  Defendant, who is a celebrity, objected to some of the icing on the cake, saying it looked like pills.  He published scathing reviews of plaintiff's bakeries on the Internet, leading to plaintiff's losing customers and business profits.  Plaintiff sued for defamation.  This decision holds… Read More

This decision affirms a district court order dismissing a defamation suit under Cal. Code Civ. Proc. 425.16.  Maddow was a TV personality and host of a program espousing liberal political views.  In one program she expressed glee over a report by another news organization that one of Herring's ultra-conservative commentators was being paid by the Kremlin for propaganda.  The speech… Read More

The litigation privilege (Civ. Code 47(b)) protects contractors that record mechanics liens from slander of title actions.  That is true even if the mechanics lien ultimately is shown to have been improperly recorded--as plaintiff here claimed it was because it was the fourth lien recorded after plaintiff had already posted a release bond.  Also, plaintiff failed to prove that defendant… Read More

One dentist brought a defamation action against his former partner, another dentist, for statements the defendant made to various other persons impugning the quality of the plaintiff's dentistry work.  The defendant filed an Anti-SLAPP motion which was granted, and plaintiff appealed.  Held:  Statements about the competency of a professional, like a dentist, concern a matter of public importance and so… Read More

In some respects, the trial court's specification of reasons for granting a new trial, subject to a remittitur, for excessive damages was adequate.  For example, the trial court found that the jury had awarded duplicative damages for two different causes of action.  However, the appellate court held the reason was not supported by the record which showed there was substantial… Read More

In another wrongful termination and defamation case, this decision follows Roby v. McKesson Corp. (2009) 47 Cal.4th 686, in holding that a one-to-one ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages is the constitutional limit.  Though emotional distress counts as physical injury for purposes of weighing reprehensibility, still plaintiff's emotional distress was not as severe as Roby's.  Also, as in Roby,… Read More

The federal Communications Decency Act barred the trial court from directing Yelp! to remove libelous content from a review posted by a third party. Read More

The absolute litigation privilege protects statements in a probate proceeding by an executor or administrator, and if the privilege’s application depends on undisputed facts, it may be raised for the first time on appeal. Read More

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