Muddy Waters, LLC v. Superior Court (2021) 62 Cal.App.5th 905. This is a SLAPP case. An investment firm engaged in short selling filed a SLAPP motion to a complaint which asserted causes of action for unfair competition, trade libel, and interference with prospective economic advantage. The alleged liability was based upon a publication by the defendant investment firm under a pseudonym, of two reports that suggested the Plaintiff was part of a conspiracy to artificially inflate the sales of a large Chinese aluminum company. The court of appeal found that the claims arose from protected speech. The published reports were posted to an internet website available to the public, were made in a public forum, and concerned an issue of public interest. The court found that the commercial speech exception did not apply, reversing the trial court on this matter, because there was no evidence to suggest that the publisher of the information was a business competitor. There was also a failure to show the likelihood of prevailing on the merits and so the SLAPP motion should have been granted.
Gregory L. McCoy