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New Cases of Interest - June 20, 2011
Oasis West Realty, LLC v. Goldman (2011) 51 Cal.4th 811. This was a SLAPP motion that made it to the California Supreme Court for decision. A client brought a complaint asserting claims for breach of fiduciary duty, professional negligence and breach of contract against the client’s former attorney. The attorney had represented the client in obtaining approval for a redevelopment project. After the representation ended, the attorney who had represented the client personally campaigned against the city council’s approval of the redevelopment project by soliciting signatures on a referendum petition to overturn the approval of the project. The attorney asserted that in doing so he had disclosed no confidential information acquired during the representation.
The court held that the client had established a probability of prevailing. From the undisputed facts, it was reasonable to infer that the attorney had relied on confidential information in opposing the project, and an attorney’s obligation not to misuse confidential information imparted by a client is not protected speech. The client had established a prima facie case of actual injury and entitlement to damages which required denial of the SLAPP motion filed by the attorney.