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 compensation for her efforts in helping to sell certain trust property. Richard filed an answer in that action although was not a named party nor did he obtain leave to intervene. Tukes later dismissed claims against Richard, although he was not named in the action.
Despite never having been named by Tukes, Richard sued Tukes and her attorney for malicious prosecution. Richard’s attorney filed the SLAPP motion which was granted because Richard was unable to show probability of prevailing because he hadn’t been a party in the underlying action and lacked standing to sue for malicious prosecution. The court of appeal agreed that the lack of standing to bring a malicious prosecution action meant that the SLAPP motion should have been granted.
Golden Gate Land Holdings, LLC v. Direct Action Everywhere (2022) 81 Cal.App.5th 82. This is also a SLAPP case. A horse-racing track operator sued an animal rights organization for trespass and interference with prospective economic relationships. The animal rights organization filed a SLAPP motion and the motion as denied with the court concluding that the organization failed to meet plaintiff’s initial burden of proof to show that the complaint challenged protected activity. The court of appeal found that the claim that the advocacy organization was vicariously liable for some third parties’ illegal conduct might have been subject to demurrer or other summary challenge, but it wasn’t subject to a SLAPP motion because the alleged liability was not premised on constitutionally protected activity.
M & L Financial, Inc. v. Sotheby’s, Inc. (2022) 81 Cal.App.5th 173. The plaintiff took some jewelry to the defendant for consignment. The defendant released the jewelry to a stranger without informing the plaintiff, the jewelry vanished and plaintiff filed a lawsuit. The court found that the plaintiff could state a proper claim for breach of contract by defendant’s breaching the consignment agreement by giving the jewelry to a stranger without plaintiff’s permission. The breach was measured in damages by the value of the lost jewelry. However, a demurrer to a negligence claim was properly sustained.
Gregory L. McCoy