FACT OR OPINION: IS THAT THE RIGHT QUESTION? UNDER CALIFORNIA LIBEL AND ANTI-SLAPP LAW, WHAT ARE SOME PLAINTIFF’S OPTIONS IN LOS ANGELES AND SAN FRANCISCO IF THEY LOSE ON PRONG ONE OF THE COURT’S ANALYSIS?

If defendants meet their Prong One burden of proving their statements arose from protected conduct, their anti-SLAPP motion is not won. The onus then shifts to the plaintiffs with the obligation to establish a probability of success on the merits.[1] The probability-of-prevailing standard closely mirrors the standard on a motion for summary judgment.[2] But in anti-SLAPP analysis, the court does …

UNDER CALIFORNIA DEFAMATION LAW, FOR PURPOSES OF ANALYZING AN ANTI-SLAPP SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE, HOW DOES A COURT DETERMINE WHETHER AN ALLEGEDLY LIBELOUS PUBLICATION INVOLVES A PUBLIC ISSUE OR AN ISSUE OF PUBLIC INTEREST?

To win phase one of the two-phase anti-SLAPP analysis, the defendant must show their conduct arose from constitutionally protected activity. This rule refers to exercising (1) the petition for redress of grievances, or (2) free speech, made in connection with “…a public issue or an issue of public interest.” [1] However, the anti-SLAPP law does not define “public interest” or …

IN CALIFORNIA LIBEL LAW, CAN A PLAINTIFF DEFEAT A DEFENDANT’S ASSERTION THAT, SINCE AN ONLINE POST DOES NOT NAME THE PLAINTIFF, IT IS THEREFORE NOT DEFAMATORY?

I am often asked: what if the person who defamed me did not mention my name? How do I show the defamatory comments were about me? The short answer: by description and circumstance. My office handled a recent federal case in California. The defendant moved to assert[1] the statements he published on the Internet did not name the person who …

PHASE ONE OF A COURT’S anti-SLAPP ANALYSIS CALIFORNIA DEFAMATION CASES (PART 1)

Under Code of Civil Procedure §425.16, et. seq., when a court in Los Angeles or San Diego analyzes an anti-SLAPP motion to strike part or all of a complaint for libel or slander, there are two distinct inquires, often called “prongs”. This article focuses on the elements of the defendant’s burden in first of these and emphasizes what a defendant …

In Los Angeles and San Diego How Does False Light – Invasion of Privacy – Differ from Libel?

False Light is a form of invasion of privacy. It arises from publicity putting the plaintiff in a false perspective and damaged position. The claim is sometimes called “false light in the public eye.” A false light claim is much like an allegation of libel. But there are important differences. Unlike a libel claim, a false light cause of action …

“Necessity” and “Coercion” in Compelled Self-Defamation in Los Angeles and San Diego

There exists a long line of libel and slander rulings in California holding a plaintiff may not fabricate a cause of action by herself or himself publishing defamatory statements to others. The defendant must typically cause the publication. A plaintiff’s manufacturing a libel claim, for instance, does not create a valid legal cause of action. However, courts have created an …

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 …