The trial court properly denied an Anti-SLAPP motion in this suit by a beer distributor against the beer manufacturer for breach of their distribution contract.  Under B&P Code 25000.2, when a new entity acquires the right to manufacture beer and terminates any existing distributor, the successor distributor must negotiate with the terminated distributor and if that fails arbitrate the amount to be paid as fair market value of the distributorship rights being transferred.  Because the arbitration was statutorily required, not mere contractual arbitration, it was an official proceeding and protected activity under the Anti-SLAPP statute.  However, plaintiff’s complaint was not based on the arbitration or the letter the new manufacturer sent allegedly beginning that proceeding, but rather on the manufacturer’s antecedent and unprotected decision to terminate the distributor in breach of the terms of its distribution agreement.  So the Anti-SLAPP statute did not apply.  Moreover, section 25000.2 did not authorize the new manufacturer to terminate a distributor despite contrary terms of the distribution agreement, so plaintiff showed a probability of success.  Even if paid the fair market value of its distribution rights, plaintiff could recover other damages for breach of the distribution agreement.

California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 2 (Hoffstadt, J.); September 25, 2017; 2017 WL 4230610