Developments of Interest

New Cases of Interest - July 22, 2019

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Cuevas-Martinez v. Sun Salt Sand, Inc. (2019) 35 Cal.App.5th 1109.  A SLAPP case.  Defendant filed a SLAPP motion to strike a malicious prosecution claim which the trial court granted but the Court of Appeal reversed, finding that the malicious prosecution claim showed a probability of prevailing by demonstrating a prima facie case of a lack of a probable cause for a prior claim of intentional interference with contractual relationships.  This was shown because discovery revealed that there were no contracts to interfere with and the misappropriation of trade secrets claim also lacked evidence, but the case was nonetheless maintained for two years after it was known to be baseless.

In Re Marriage of Benner (2019) 36 Cal.App.5th 177.  Another SLAPP case.  In this case an expert who had been appointed to prepare a child custody evaluation in a marital dissolution action was subject to a petition seeking joinder of the expert in the dissolution action itself, which the expert then filed a SLAPP motion about.  The trial court however denied the SLAPP motion which was affirmed by the Court of Appeal, finding that the petition was not subject to the SLAPP statute because it did not contain a cause of action against the expert.  The expert could have attacked the issue another way and the court concluded that the compulsory joinder was not appropriate.

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