Developments Of Interest


Li v. Jenkins (2023) 95 Cal.App.5th 493. This is a SLAPP case. The Plaintiff sued the Defendants for breach of contract on the basis that she was denied the ability to develop and co-produce a television series that focused on the life of young, wealthy Asian-Americans living in Los Angeles………


ILOH v. Regents of the University of California (2023) 94 Cal.App.5th 947. This is a SLAPP action. A University professor filed a Petition for Writ of Mandate to prevent the University from complying with a non-profit organization’s records request under the Public Records Act.………


Park v. Nazari (2023) 183 Cal.App.5th 1099. This is a SLAPP case. The moving party filed a SLAPP motion with respect to a lawsuit for fraudulent transfer, quiet title and declaratory relief with the motion being denied and the Court of Appeal upholding the trial court in that regard finding that………


California Medical Association v. Aetna Health of California, Inc. (2023) 14 Cal.5th 1075. This is a case that goes to the California Supreme Court when the California Medical Association sued a health insurer alleging violations of the Unfair Competition Law.………


Leon v. County of Riverside (2023) 14 Cal.5th 910. This is a case that makes it to the California Supreme Court on the issue of public entity immunity and the immunity of agents of a public entity………


Los Angeles Unified School District v. Superior Court (2023) 14 Cal.5th 758. This is a California Supreme Court matter which deals with the issue of whether a school district can have imposed against it any form of enhanced damages……..


Nirschel v. Schiller (2023) 91 Cal.App 5th 386. This is a SLAPP case. In this case an employer made allegedly defamatory remarks about an employee to the owner of an employment agency regarding the employee’s unsatisfactory performance……..


Young v. Midland Funding, LLC (2023) 91 Cal.App.5th 63. This is a SLAPP case. An action was brought against a creditor under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and a SLAPP motion was granted in favor of the creditor, but was reversed in part, vacated in part and remanded by the Court of Appeal…….


Billauer v. Escobar-Eck (2023) 88 Cal.App.5th 953 This is another SLAPP case. A “neighborhood activist” filed a SLAPP motion with respect to a Cross-Complaint for liable which had been filed against him by the President and Chief Executive Officer of a land use and strategic planning firm……


Valero v. Spread Your Wings, LLC (2023) 88 Cal.App.5th 243. The Plaintiff brought a malicious prosecution complaint alleging that a mandated reporter made a knowingly false report of dependent/adult abuse to law enforcement. The Court sustained a demurrer without leave to amend on the basis…..


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…..


Blaser v. State Teachers Retirement System (2022) 86 Cal.App.5th 507. This is a fairly significant decision in the area of retirement benefits under the STRS system. In it the court of appeal determines…..


Timothy W. v. Julie W. (2022) 85 Cal.App.5th 648. This is the first of two SLAPP cases. The plaintiff brought two causes of action based in tort and two in contract arising from a private investigator’s disclosure of….


Trujillo v. City of Los Angeles (2022) 84 Cal.App.5th 908. While a CCP § 998 offer was pending and not yet expired, the trial court orally granted a summary judgment motion, and the party in receipt….


Young v. Midland Funding LLC (2022) 84 Cal.App.5th 34. This case involved a SLAPP motion to strike a complaint which alleged violations of the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Court found that a prima facie case had been alleged of a violation of the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by alleging that …..


Starr v. Mayhew (2022) 83 Cal.App 5th 842. This was an arbitration award where the arbitrator corrected the final award to clarify an issue on indemnity and the Court of Appeal found that this was permissible under CCP §§ 1284 and 1286.6 and also…


Bonni v. St. Joseph Health System (2022) 89 Cal.App.5th 288. This is a SLAPP case. There were multiple distinct retaliation claims found within a retaliation cause of action, and the Court said it was necessary to scrutinize each of those claims separately in light of the anti-SLAPP motion …..


Geiser v. Kuhns (2002) 13 Cal.5th 1238.  This is a SLAPP case that makes it to the California Supreme Court.  The court found that a sidewalk picket protesting a real estate company’s business practices constituted protective activity within the meaning of CCP § 425.16(e)(4).  Although the protests …..


Franklin v. Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital (2022) 82 Cal.App.5th 395. This was a case in which a physician negligently injured a patient during surgery performed at the hospital. The patient sued the physician and the hospital. The hospital was…..


Serova v. Sony Music Entertainment (2022) 13 Cal.5th 859. This was a SLAPP case which makes it to the Supreme Court. The plaintiff purchased a music album and contended after the purchase that some of the tracks were not by the party that…..


Chen v. Valstock Ventures, LLC (2022) 81 Cal.App.5th 197. The trial court had awarded contractual attorneys’ fees under Civil Code § 1717 following an order granting summary adjudication (not summary judgment) on a contract claim…..


Tukes v. Richard (2022) 81 Cal.App.5th 1. This is a SLAPP case. Richard was the beneficiary of a trust. Tukes, whose mother was the other beneficiary of the trust, brought an action against the trustee seeking…..


LG Chem. Ltd. v. Superior Court (2022) 80 Cal.App.5th 348. This is a jurisdiction case and should be contrasted with the case which follows, Daimler Trucks North America LLC v. Superior Court…..


Field v. US Bank National Association (2022) 79 Cal.App.5th 703. This is a discovery case, and in it the court determined that the borrower gave an evasive and ambiguous answer to a key contention interrogatory by responding that the borrower was “unsure” when asked about a mailed notice of trustee sale….


Estate of Eskra (2022) 78 Cal.App.5th 209.  In this case a widow petitioned the probate court seeking to be appointed the personal representative of her late husband’s estate and sought recission of a premarital agreement that waived her interest in her husband’s separate property…


Vatalaro v. County of Sacramento (2022) 79 Cal.App.5th 367.  In this case the court held that an employee who brings a whistleblower retaliation claim results in the employer having to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the challenged action for legitimate, independent reasons even if the employee had not engaged in protected activity


Kim v. TWA Construction, Inc. (2022) 78 Cal.App.5th 808. In this case a licensed contractor employed an unlicensed subcontractor to do tree removal and the work was not performed properly. The court held that the bar against compensation for unlicensed work applied to the contractor here under the definition of a contractor in Business and Professions Code § 7026, because it included any subcontractor working for the contractor….


Mireskandari v. Edwards Wildman Palmer, LLP (2022) 77 Cal.App.5th 247. Attorneys had filed a SLAPP motion in a professional negligence claim which alleged that the attorneys failed to advise their client of the foreseeable risk of litigation including a SLAPP motion. As a consequence, their client…


Colonial Van & Storage, Inc. v. Superior Court (2022) 76 Cal.App.5th 487. In this case, an employer allowed an employee to work from home and the employee was working from home during a business meeting when a family member of the employee assaulted a co-worker and a business associate…


Pech v. Doniger (2022) 75 Cal.App.5th 443. In this case a plaintiff who was also an attorney filed a lawsuit against his former clients and their new attorneys alleging that there had been interference with his fee agreement by the new attorney telling the clients not to file a complaint that the plaintiff had drafted…


Lawson v. PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc. (2022) 12 Cal.5th 703. The Supreme Court in response to a request from the 9th Circuit holds that Labor Code § 1102.6 which provides the underlying framework for a whistleblower retaliation claim contemplates that the employee’s burden is to establish that retaliation….


Sugarman v. Brown (2021) 73 Cal.App.5th 152. This is a SLAPP matter. The plaintiff, a former bank officer, sued individual directors, bank executives and the bank’s auditor and the auditor, who was the one who then filed the SLAPP petition. The auditor’s motion was granted with the court finding that the statements in the annual 10-K….


Olson v. Doe (2022) 12 Cal.5th 669. This is a Supreme Court decision regarding the SLAPP statute. Cross-defendant Doe had previously filed a civil harassment restraining order against a cross-complainant that was settled following a court ordered mediation. Cross-defendant Doe then filed a civil complaint against….


Edward v. Ellis (2021) 72 Cal.App.5th 780. This is a classic SLAPP action but it ends up a little differently than expected. A developer sued a political consultant for libel based on allegedly false statements about the developer that were contained in two campaign e-mailers. The consultant filed a SLAPP motion. The Court concluded….


Neurelis Inc. v. Aquestive Therapeutics Inc. (2021) 71 Cal.App.5th 769. This is a SLAPP motion involving an action for a competitor’s claims of defamation, unfair competition and malicious prosecution. The Court found that the request to stay approval of the competitor’s drug was protected conduct because it was petitioning activity and the defamation….


Najarro v. Superior Court (2021) 70 Cal.App.5th 871. The trial court granted motions to compel arbitration of employment related causes of action which was then affirmed in part and reversed in part by the court of appeal. The arbitration agreement had a severability clause which allowed the court to decide issues such as unconscionability….

November 2021

Throughout the pandemic, many employment sectors were – rather surprisingly – easily able to adjust to remote work, with the practice of law being no exception: depositions, mediations, and civil evidentiary hearings, etc. appear to have readily adapted to a virtual platform, and able to proceed “business as usual.”….


Weeden v. Hoffman (2021) 70 Cal.App.5th 269. This is a SLAPP case. Real estate buyers filed an action to quiet title, slander of title, and other theories. The court found that with one exception the SLAPP motion should have been denied because the claims arose from protected activity in enforcing a judgment and litigation related activity….


Cheng v. Coastal L.B. Associates, LLC (2021) 69 Cal.App.5th 112. This is an interesting case involving an appraiser’s award valuing an interest in a limited liability company at a discounted fair market value and setting a final buyout price pursuant to Corporations Code § 17703(c). The court states….


Kim v. R Consulting & Sales, Inc. (2021) 67 Cal.App.5th 263. This was a SLAPP issue and arose in connection with an order to show cause regarding contempt in post judgment discovery disputes, with the court finding that an OSC was not a valid basis for malicious prosecution claims and was not a separate proceeding….


Favila v. Pasquarella (2021) 65 Cal.App.5th 934.  This was a case in which a trial court exercised its authority under CCP § 187 and granted a judgment creditor’s motion to further amend a judgment by adding an individual judgment debtor as the alter ego of a corporate judgment debtor and his post-judgment corporate successor….


Brighton Collectables, LLC v. Hockey (2021) 65 Cal.App.5th 99. This is a SLAPP case. The court of appeal found that the trial court erred in granting a SLAPP motion. Whether or not the fraud cross-claim in that case which involved a fashion model, arose from protected conduct, the court concluded that granting the motion was error because the cross…


Dunning v. Clews (2021) 64 Cal.App. 5th 156. This is a SLAPP matter. Defendants brought an environmental challenge to a development project which was dismissed and the developer thereafter brought a malicious prosecution action against the parties who had brought the challenge and the parties’ attorneys…


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…


Truck Insurance Exchange v. Federal Insurance Company (2021) 63 Cal.App.5th 211. This is a SLAPP case. A primary insurer filed a complaint against an excess insurer alleging a fraudulently induced settlement. The SLAPP motion by the excess insurer was denied and affirmed with the court of appeal finding that the primary insurer met its burden of showing a probability of prevailing on the merits and evidence of intrinsic fraud rendered the litigation privilege inapplicable…


Area 55, LLC v. Nicholas & Tomasevic, LLP (2021) 61 Cal.App.5th 136. This is a SLAPP case. That motion was filed with respect to a malicious prosecution claim brought against attorneys who represented a party in a prior action, which action was dismissed for failure to prosecute. The court found that the failure to prosecute dismissal was a favorable determination which showed probable cause that the Plaintiff would prevail in the current action…


Hoang v. Tran (2021) 60 Cal.App.5th 513. This is a SLAPP action seeking to dismiss causes of action for defamation, common law right of publicity, and civil conspiracy. The trial court denied the motion but the court of appeal reversed. The trial court found that the moving party failed to satisfy the first prong of the SLAPP statute, that the case arose from protected activity in connection with an issue of public interest…


Trinity Risk Management v. Simplified Labor Staffing Solutions, Inc((2021) 59 Cal.App.5th 995. This is a SLAPP matter. The court held that the amendment of a complaint did not cause a SLAPP motion to be moot with respect to a cross-complaint and that the cross-defendants had met their burden of showing that emails which formed the factual basis for the cross-complaint were acts in furtherance of the cross-defendant’s constitutional right of petition and protected activity…


Balla v. Hall (2021) 59 Cal.App.5th 652. This is SLAPP case involving claims for defamation and false light invasion of privacy. The Court found that a SLAPP motion can reach separate claims within a single pled cause of action and motions in that case did not have to be denied in their entirety if the claims were actionable in part…


Quidel Corporation v. Superior Court (2020) 57 Cal.App.5th 155. This is sort of an interesting application of Business and Professions Code § 16600. The court finds that an exclusive dealing agreement between two sophisticated biotechnology companies was not automatically…


Changsha Metro Group Company Limited v. Xufeng (2020) 57 Cal.App.5th 1. This case involved an award of attorneys’ fees as sanctions for a frivolous SLAPP motion. The court of appeal affirmed the award of attorneys’ fees finding that the request for fees was properly submitted in the opposition…


RCG Gaslamp, LLC v. Ehmcke Sheetmetal Company, Inc. (2020) 56 Cal.App.5th 413. This is a SLAPP matter. An owner sued a subcontractor for quiet title, slander of title and declaratory and injunctive relief after it had secured a bond to release…


Caliber Paving Company, Inc. v. Rexford Industrial Realty & Management, Inc. (2020) 54 Cal.App.5th 175. A subcontractor sued a general contractor for breach of contract and also sued the owner of the property for intentional interference…


Murray v. Tran (2020) 55 Cal.App.5th 10. This is a SLAPP action in which the court struck defamation claims, which claims asserted that a dentist’s work was substandard…


Oakland Bulk & Oversize Terminal, LLC v. City of Oakland (2020) 54 Cal.App.5th 738. This is a SLAPP case. A developer sued the City of Oakland asserting tort and breach of contract claims relating to the development of a shipping terminal at a former Army base…


Williams v. 3620 W. 102nd Street, Inc. (2020) 53 Cal.App.5th 1087. This was a petition to compel arbitration based on agreements in residential leases…


Ixchel Pharma, LLC v. Biogen, Inc. (2020) 9 Cal.5th 1130. Plaintiff had entered into an agreement with a drug company to develop a drug for the treatment…


Moreno v. California State Teachers Retirement System (2020) 52 Cal.App.5th 547. This was a case involving the State Teachers Retirement System law and particularly Education…


Wittenberg v. Bornstein (2020) 50 Cal.App.5th 303. This is a SLAPP matter. Plaintiff filed a lawsuit both individually and derivatively on behalf of an LLC in which he was an owner…


VVA-Two, LLC v. Impact Development Group, LLC (2020) 48 Cal.App.5th 985. This is an arbitration award which gets affirmed at both the trial court level and on appeal, but it is…


Weimer v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC (2020) 47 Cal.App.5th 341. In this case the court notes that a financial institution as a general rule does not have a duty of care to a borrower when…


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…


Aldea Dos Vientos v. CalAtlantic Group (2020) 44 Cal.App.5th 1073.  An arbitrator dismissed claims made against a developer because no membership vote was taken prior to the…


Hansel Phelps Construction Company v. Superior Court (2020) 44 Cal.App.5th 595.  This was a case that turned on the question of when a project reached substantial completion so as to…


Techno Lite, Inc. v. Emcod, LLC (2020) 44 Cal.App.5th 462.  Employees were found liable for fraud based on a false promise they made to their employer that a company which the…


Ojjeh v. Brown (2019) 43 Cal.App.5th 1027.  The defendants solicited and obtained investments from the plaintiff to produce a documentary film on the refugee crisis in Syria. …


Rall v. Tribune 365, LLC (2019) 43 Cal.App.5th 638.  Another SLAPP case.  In this one the Plaintiff was a cartoonist and blogger and sued certain media defendants for defamation…


Bernstein v. LaBeouf.  (2019) 43 Cal.App.5th 15.  This is a SLAPP case in which a Defendant who is an actor called Plaintiff, who was a bartender, a “racist” after…


Island Springs Conference & Training Center v. City of Banning (2019) 42 Cal.App.5th 416.  In this case a judgment creditor brought a successful motion to amend the judgment to…


Wishnev v. The Northwestern Life Insurance Co. (2019) 8 Cal.5th 199.  This is a case decided by the California Supreme Court after a referral from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals…


Miller v. Zurich American Insurance Co. (2019) 41 Cal.App.5th 247.  This is another in a long succession of SLAPP cases.  An insurer moved to strike a complaint in an insurance…


Hicks v. Richard (2019) 39 Cal.App.5th 1167.  This is a SLAPP decision.  Plaintiff filed a complaint for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress concerning…