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Vexatious litigant and attorney sanctioned for filing frivolous anti-SLAPP appeal

Posted by on Jul 15, 2014

California’s anti-SLAPP law recently assisted in giving some closure to a defendant who had been battling with a vexatious litigant in California courts for the past ten years. The dispute began back in 2005 when Lipworth (the defendant in the present case) was assigned a six figure judgment against Singh (the plaintiff). In order to collect, Lipworth successfully moved to amend the judgment to add certain aliases of Singh, which Lipworth showed Singh had used in previous lawsuits. The court then granted Lipworth’s application to sell...

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Court of Appeal Holds That Anti-SLAPP Law Does Not Apply to Claims Arising from Attorneys’ Withdrawal of Settlement Funds

Posted by on Jul 1, 2014

On Friday, June 27, 2014, the Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District, held that the anti-SLAPP law does not apply to causes of action arising from attorneys’ withdrawal of settlement funds because that withdrawal was neither communicative nor related to an issue of public interest. In Old Republic Construction Program Group v. The Boccardo Law Firm, Inc., defendant attorneys appealed a trial court order denying their anti-SLAPP motion as to three causes of action, for breach of contract, negligence, and declaratory relief. The...

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Makaeff’s Anti-SLAPP Motion (Finally) Granted in Lawsuit Against Trump University – Anti-SLAPP Statute Still Applicable to State Claims in Federal Court

Posted by on Jun 24, 2014

 Print This Post In 2010, Tarla Makaeff (Makaeff) filed a deceptive business practices class action lawsuit in federal court against Trump University (Trump), alleging that Trump never delivered on its promises of the scope and benefits of the program that lured her into paying nearly $60,000 in tuition (essentially arguing that Trump was an “elaborate scam”). Trump then filed a counterclaim for defamation against Makaeff, based on statements that she had made about her experience with Trump on the Internet. Makaeff filed an...

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Court holds that pre-litigation demand email is extortionate as a matter of law

Posted by on Jun 20, 2014

Whether or not a pre-litigation demand letter is extortionate as a matter of law has been a hot topic in anti-SLAPP litigation over the past ten years. In 2006, the Supreme Court held that the anti-SLAPP law does not apply when the defendant concedes, or the evidence conclusively establishes that the defendants conquest was illegal as a matter of law. Flatley v. Mauro held that the defendant’s over-the-top pre-litigation demand letter and phone calls were extortionate as a matter of law. Since then, two published opinions have followed...

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Court Rules that City Council Vote to Approve a Contract is Not Protected Activity When the Council Members Have a Financial Interest in That Contract

Posted by on Jun 19, 2014

 Print This Post UPDATE: On August 13, 2014, the California Supreme Court unanimously voted to grant a petition for review in this case, to address the following issue: “Did votes by city officials to approve a contract constitute conduct protected under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16 despite the allegation that they had a financial interest in the contract?” In City of Montebello v. Vasquez, the City of Montebello (the City) sued several former Montebello city council members and a former city administrator, seeking...

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S&P and Moody’s must face CalPERS’ $1 billion lawsuit – Court of Appeal affirms denial of rating agencies’ anti-SLAPP motion

Posted by on Jun 11, 2014

Late last month, the Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Three, ruled in CalPERS v. Moody’s that Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service Inc. (S&P and Moody’s) must face the California Public Employees’ Retirement System’s (CalPERS) $1 billion lawsuit over S&P and Moody’s ratings of structured investment vehicles. The trial court’s ruling, which was “affirmed in full” by the Court of Appeal, rejected a request by the rating companies to dismiss the case...

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D’Arrigo Bros. of California v. United Farmworkers of America – Court of Appeal Tosses Agricultural Company’s Lawsuit

Posted by on Mar 24, 2014

Evan Mascagni and Mark Goldowitz In D’Arrigo Bros. of California v. United Farmworkers of America, D’Arrigo sued UFW for breach of contract.  UFW moved to strike the complaint under the anti-SLAPP law, but the trial court denied the motion.  On appeal, UFW argued that the case arose from its protected petitioning activity and that D’Arrigo could not show a probability of prevailing in the action. First Prong: UFW’s Protected Petitioning Activity UFW has represented D’Arrigo’s agricultural employees in Salinas Valley since the...

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Bloggers entitled to same free speech protections as traditional journalists

Posted by on Jan 23, 2014

On Friday Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Andrew Hurwitz issued an opinion in Obsidian Finance Group, LLC. v. Cox.  His opening line was as follows: “This case requires us to address a question of first impression: What First Amendment protections are afforded a blogger sued for defamation?” This important new decision involved a blog post by blogger Crystal Cox, in which she accused a financial firm and its bankruptcy trustee of tax fraud.  At the trial court level, the judge rejected Cox’s First Amendment arguments...

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Pre-election challenges to ballot initiatives arise from protected activity

Posted by on Aug 14, 2013

by Evan Mascagni and Mark Goldowitz The Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division 2, issued a published opinion last week in Mission Springs Water District v. Verjil reversing its earlier rule denying the applicability of the anti-SLAPP law to pre-election challenges to ballot initiatives in California.  The Court held that pre-election challenges to an initiative implicate the personal constitutional rights of the initiative’s proponents, and thus arises from activity protected under CCP 425.16. This case began after Mission...

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California Anti-SLAPP Law Is Substantive and Applies in Federal Court, Second Circuit Holds

Posted by on Jun 12, 2013

The Second Circuit has now joined the First, Fifth, and Ninth Circuits in holding that state anti-SLAPP laws confer substantive laws under the Erie doctrine, and are therefore applicable in federal court. In Liberty Synergistics Inc. v. Microflo Ltd., Liberty Synergistics Inc. (Liberty) filed a malicious prosecution suit in California state court against Microflo Ltd. (Microflo) over an earlier round of litigation between the same parties in the Eastern District of New York.  Liberty alleged that Microflo, in pursing the previous litigation...

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