Cordova Corporation v. City of Industry (2023) 87 Cal.App.5th 145. The City sued a contract management firm after the city had discovered what appeared to be fraudulent billings for a solar energy development. The contract management firm then filed a cross-complaint for breach of contract and various other theories. The City filed a SLAPP motion with respect to the cross-complaint. The SLAPP motion was granted because the conduct which the contract management firm was attacking in the cross-complaint was protected petitioning activity. The City’s lawsuit was in furtherance of that protected right to petition. The cross-complaint plainly arose from the City’s lawsuit and but for that lawsuit the contract management firm’s claim would have no basis. The declaratory relief claims that were brought by the contract management firm were therefore determined to arise from protected litigation activity.
SVAP III Poway Crossings, LLC v. Fitness International, LLC (2023) 87 Cal.App.5th 882. Plaintiff sued the Defendant for breach of contract based upon non-payment of rent. Defendant contended that summary judgment should not have been granted to the Plaintiff because Defendant’s obligation to pay rent was excused due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting government orders which prohibited it from operating its fitness facility for several months.
The Court of Appeal however affirmed the granting of summary judgment by the trial court. Plaintiff did not have an obligation under the lease to ensure Defendant’s ability to operate a fitness facility for the entire duration of the lease term but only to provide Defendant with possession of the premises in exchange for rent. There was a specific clause in the lease which stated that a force majeure event would not be deemed to exist if failure to perform could be cured by the payment of money, which it could here.
Gregory L. McCoy