Tuesday, November 11, 2014

One for the Right Side of "Arising From"

Old Republic Constr. Program Grp. v. Boccardo Law Firm, No. H037989 (D6 Oct. 21, 2014)

In a very thorough opinion, the court here gets the point that the Lunada court missed a few weeks ago. In determining whether the “arising from” prong of the anti-SLAPP analysis has been satisfied, the court should look to what acts the plaintiff contends constitute the allegedly wrongful or injurious conduct. (As opposed to other acts that, while having a causal significance to the story of the case, are not themselves the conduct that forms the basis of the claims.) If the defendant has engaged in protected conduct, but the plaintiff’s case does not actually arise from that conduct, the standard has not been met.

Thus, when the defendant enters a stipulation to put client funds into a trust account but plaintiff’s claim is that defendant wrongfully withdrew those funds, the case arises from the withdrawal, not the stipulation.  And because there is nothing communicative or public-interest-related about taking money out of a bank account, protected activity is not the basis of the claim. So the anti-SLAPP statute does not apply.


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