New CA Anti-SLAPP Case

anti-slapp motions Jan 10, 2023
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Below is a discussion of a new CA civil case published last month.

Can Attorney Fees Be Awarded for Filing a Frivolous Anti-SLAPP Motion?

Anti-SLAPP motions give defendants an opportunity to quickly knock out the plaintiff's case and also get an award of attorney fees. But is there any punishment if a defendant files a frivolous anti-SLAPP motion? Last month, the Third District Court of Appeal published a new decision addressing this issue. To find out what they decided, watch the video and read my case summary below.

New CA Anti-SLAPP/Code of Civil Procedure Decision  

City of Rocklin v. Legacy Family Adventures etc. (2022) _ Cal.App.5th _ , 2022 WL 17827565: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order denying defendants’ anti-SLAPP motion to strike (Code of Civil Procedure, section 425. 16) and it’s order awarding plaintiff attorney fees of $72,798.65 and costs of $1,053.31 because the anti-SLAPP motion was frivolous. The anti-SLAPP motion was filed against 4 of 12 causes of action in plaintiff’s complaint regarding a joint undertaking involving the construction and operation of a theme park called Quarry Park Adventures. The parties did not actively dispute that the speech at issue in those causes of action was commercial speech, to which section 425.16 does not apply. Instead, the parties debated whether the speech concerning the theme park qualified under the “artistic work” exception (section 425.17(d)(2)) to the commercial speech exemption (section 425.17(c)). The trial court was not bound by an expert opinion offered by defendants and it properly carried out its duty to interpret the statute and made its determination as a matter of law as to whether a theme park would qualify as an artistic work under section 425.17(d)(2). The trial court correctly sustained plaintiff’s objection to paragraphs in the expert declaration as relayed case-specific hearsay. (People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665, 676.) Finally, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding attorney fees to plaintiff pursuant to section 128.5 as incorporated in section 425.16(c), because any reasonable attorney would agree that defendants’ special motion to strike on the ground that the proposed theme park was an artistic work was totally devoid of merit. (C.A. 3rd, December 21, 2022.)   


Civil Litigation Services

I still take a few select civil cases where I represent plaintiffs or defendants in business, insurance bad faith, personal injury, real property and wrongful death actions. Using my experience as a California civil trial lawyer since 1980, and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates since 1995, my goal is to get each client the best possible result. My clients get the benefit of big firm experience with small firm attention and reasonable rates. To discuss a potential case, email me at [email protected], or call me at (619) 990-4312.

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I also help attorneys and their clients by serving as a mediator, arbitrator and referee at ADR Services, Inc., handling cases in the areas of business, commercial, employment, insurance bad faith, insurance coverage, landlord-tenant (commercial and residential), legal malpractice, medical malpractice, personal injury, real property and wrongful death. To schedule an ADR matter with me, contact my case manager at ADR services, Haward Cho,  [email protected], (213) 683-1600.  

Until my next blog post, stay safe and healthy.

Best regards,
Monty A. McIntyre, Esq.
Master Lawyer Mentoring™
Civil Trial Attorney  
Mediator, Arbitrator & Referee
California Case Summaries™
CA Civil Trial Attorney Since 1980
ABOTA Member Since 1995
Past President San Diego County Bar Assn., SD ABOTA Chapter
Phone: (619) 990-4312. Email: [email protected] 

To Discuss a Potential Case With Monty:
Email Monty at [email protected]
or call Monty at (619) 990-4312. 


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