One heir’s suit against another, trying to disinherit the defendant under the no contest clause in the decedent’s trust, is a suit based on protected activity and thus is subject to an Anti-SLAPP motion to strike. The basis for the suit is the filing of the prior contest, a protected judicial proceeding. While there might be policy reasons for exempting suits to enforce no contest clauses from the Anti-SLAPP statute, the Legislature has not done so and the courts cannot override the statute’s plain language. However, the Anti-SLAPP motion should have been denied anyway because the plaintiff showed a probability of success on the merits. Though a trustee of the decedent’s trust, defendant had not been clear that she was bringing the challenge to the trust in her capacity as trustee rather than as a beneficiary. The contest had alleged fraud as one ground for setting aside part of the trust, and there was sufficient evidence to show a prima facie case of lack of probable cause in bringing the contest.
California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Five (Kriegler, J.); October 5, 2017; 2017 WL 4416317