Zehia v. Superior Court (2020) 45 Cal.App.5th 543.
The court finds jurisdiction exists based on substantial contacts which arise under the effects test as result of a nonresident engaging in intentional conduct in sending targeted private social media messages directly to California residents, with the knowledge that they were California residents and intending to cause reputational injury, and therefore personal jurisdiction in the State of California for the nonresident was appropriate.
Matson v. S.B.S. Trust Deed Network (2020) 46 Cal.App.5th 33. An individual purchased a deed of trust through a software application which showed that the deed of trust was in the first position on the property. However, the deed of trust was actually in the second position and had a lower fair market value than the amount that was paid. The buyer sought rescission of the sale and declaratory relief. Summary Judgment was granted in favor of the defendants with the finding that the plaintiffs were not entitled to rescission because they produced no evidence of irregularity, fraud or unfairness in the non-judicial foreclosure notice and sale proceedings. The fact the plaintiffs made a mistake in intentionally submitting a high offer did not justify rescission. Plaintiffs did not act as cautious business people in deciding what to bid without a more thorough investigation of other liens on the property.
Zhang v. Chu (2020) 46 Cal.App.5th 46. Plaintiff brought a wage and hour action and added the sole shareholder in the company as a defendant on an alter ego basis. After the shareholder was dismissed without prejudice, the shareholder sued the plaintiff’s lawyer for malicious prosecution and the lawyer brought a SLAPP motion. The SLAPP motion was properly granted by the trial court as determined by the court of appeal because the shareholder lacked proof that he would more likely than not succeed in proving that the lawyer had acted with malice. Searching for prospective alter egos in litigation would have been properly related to the merits of a wage and hour case, which is what the lawyer had done, and the shareholder failed to disprove that Plaintiff’s lawyer was properly motivated.
Citizens of Humanity, LLC v. Hass (2020) 46 Cal.App.5th 589. A manufacturer of designer jeans brought a malicious prosecution action arising after a mislabeling class action was dismissed after a statutory change governing the use of the words “Made in USA” on labels. Defendants brought a SLAPP motion. The motion was denied, the court finding that the manufacturer met its burden of proof for establishing the probability of prevailing on the merits. There were disputed material facts at issue and the issue of malice was supported by evidence that was presented by the manufacturer, thereby justifying dismissal of the SLAPP motion.
Medical Marijuana, Inc. v. ProjectCBD.com (2020) 465 Cal.App.5th 869. Another SLAPP case in which a manufacturer brought claims for libel, unfair competition and false light arising from the publication of an article questioning the safety of the manufacturer’s product. The manufacturer was not able to demonstrate a probability of prevailing because it failed to identify false statements with specificity regarding its libel claim and the false light and unfair competition claims were derivative of the libel claim and had to be stricken as well.
Gregory L. McCoy