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. The trial court granted the motion and the Court of Appeal affirmed in part and reversed in part. The Court of Appeal found that only one of the defamation claims was subject to the anti-SLAPP statute, because the statements allegedly made to the dentist’s employer furthered a public discussion about professional competence and as such were protected speech in connection with an issue of public interest. The other alleged statements were not shown to have been communicated to the public or to anyone of authority over the dentist and did not contribute to public discussion. As to the claim alleging defamatory statements made to the dentist’s employer, a probability of prevailing was not shown because the dentist did not present evidence establishing that the alleged conversation had occurred and the claim thus had to be stricken.

Williams v. County of Sonoma (2020) 55 Cal.App.5th 125. This is an assumption of risk issue. A bicyclist hit a pothole measuring 4 feet long by 3 feet four inches wide and 4 inches deep, and was significantly injured. There was evidence that the pothole had been reported to the County more than six weeks earlier, and the County hadn’t done anything about it. 

The Court held that the County had a duty not to increase the inherent risks of long distance, recreational cycling, and the County owed a duty to maintain safe roads for all foreseeable uses. The Court therefore found that there was a breach of duty and upheld a trial court determination which allocated 70% of fault to the County and 30% of fault to Plaintiff. 

Related Attorney(s):
Gregory L. McCoy