Defamation: Anti-SLAPP Motions, Mixed Causes of Action and the Litigation Privilege in Los Angeles and San Diego

Last month a Los Angeles Court of Appeals decided a libel case involving mixed causes of action, i.e., claims including legally protected and unprotected statements or activity, in framework of the litigation privilege.1 The defendant-cross-complainant-respondent (Kettler) is a financial planner and advisor who assisted plaintiffs elderly parents for 20 years. Shortly after their deaths, the plaintiff daughter sued for misappropriation …

The California Supreme Court Has Revised the Timing for filing an anti-SLAPP

To Defendants: A Notable Change in the Law of Defamation – The California Supreme Court Has Revised the Timing for filing an anti-SLAPP (motion to strike). 1 California law provides a procedure for early evaluation and resolution of meritless libel and slander lawsuits. Called a “Special Motion to Strike” one or more causes of action in a complaint, and often …

In Los Angeles and San Diego, Is Discovery of an Anonymous Internet Poster’s Identity for Potential Libel Protected by California’s Constitution?

In an action for copyright infringement of music recordings, an anonymous online poster asserted, through an online music site, the defendant routinely uploaded music to its servers, where it was stored and sold to third party users, and remained despite artists or music labels complaining of infringement. The defendant subpoenaed the online music site for the name of the anonymous …

What Are the Forms of Defamation in Los Angeles and San Diego?

Section 44 of the California Civil Code defines Defamation in two forms. Libel is the written form (including photos and other permanent writings, such as an Internet-defamatory statement). Slander is oral defamation. California Civil Code Section 45 defines Slander as “a false and unprivileged publication, orally uttered, and also communicated by radio or any mechanical or other means which: Charges …

Minimum Contacts: In Los Angeles or San Diego, Can You Sue Someone Posting on the Internet From another state for Libel or Slander?

Many prospective clients ask me a very reasonable question. “I’m in Los Angeles. Can I sue an Internet poster of damaging, defamatory statements about me who lives in Chicago? In 2015, a California Court of Appeals responded. The court considered a California plaintiff suing Illinois defendants for libel based on public Facebook statements. The court ruled: [An Illinois resident] “…posting …

What Happens in Los Angeles and Orange County When the Actual Words of Libel or Slander Are Innocent and Only an Inference Defamatory?

Recently a client, a Defendant, asked me why a completely innocent, allegedly libelous statement by itself (without explanatory information) was defamatory when someone had to infer as much, i.e., read libel into it. What makes innuendo or an inference defamatory? California courts have consistently ruled insinuation can be actionable defamation. One court put it this way. “A person may be …

In San Diego and San Francisco, if the Statute of Limitations Has Passed on a Defamatory Publication, are All Similar Publications Time-Barred?

The general rule states any repetition of libel or slander is a separate defamatory publication and generates a new cause of action. Several years ago, the California Supreme Court put it this way. “In general, the repetition by a new party of another person’s earlier defamatory remark also gives rise to a separate cause of action for defamation against the …

The Litigation Privilege: When Does It Shield Pre-Litigation Defamatory Statements in San Diego and Los Angeles?

Prospective defamation clients sometimes ask about what lawyers commonly dub the “litigation privilege.” Civ. Code § 47(b). This privilege affords wide immunity from libel and slander claims to a person defending or suing for those torts. Notably, this broad protection is also generally thought to protect pre-litigation communications (such as a demand letter). That is not always true. Lawyers pleading libel and slander can …

How Does a Defamed Person in San Diego or Del Mar Prove Actual Malice When the Publisher of Libel or Slander Denies Hatred and Ill Will?

The law treats defamation with actual malice more harshly than that committed negligently. The victim’s evidence required to show such malice must be clear, unambiguous, and very convincing — a much higher standard than that governing most civil cases. The law also provides a qualified privilege to defendants who stand accused of defamation with actual malice.  In cases – usually …