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Defamation

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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

Before a court may order a website to produce identifying information about an anonymous poster of information on the website, the plaintiff must establish a prima facie case, including, in a defamation case, proof of falsity of the posting’s allegedly defamatory statements.   Read More

Plaintiff could not sue defendant for defamation after defendant rated plaintiff’s website as carrying adult content and copyright-infringing material, since these ratings addressed matters of public interest and were therefore protected by the Anti-SLAPP statute.   Read More

Employer’s Anti-SLAPP motion was properly granted in response to terminated CEO’s defamation claim, since the allegedly defamatory press release stated only that a third party investigation of allegations against the CEO had been undertaken and that he was terminated as a result of that investigation.  Read More

The Communications Decency Act (47 USC 230) shielded Yelp! from liability for an allegedly defamatory review of plaintiff’s business as plaintiff alleged no facts to support his speculation that Yelp! rather than a customer wrote the review.  Read More

To discover the identity of a person who posted an anonymous Internet comment, plaintiff must present prima facie evidence of all elements of a defamation claim; here, plaintiff fell short as the comment was non-actionable opinion, not defamatory fact.  Read More

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