Intellectual Property Law

New Matter 2018 SUMMER Volume 43, Number 2

Case Comments

Lowell Anderson

Stetina Brunda Garred & Brucker


An anti-SLAPP motion obtained dismissal of claims alleging fraudulent settlement of an unlawful detainer action said to arise from the right to petition and thus within the anti-SLAPP statute—but only for quantum meruit and promissory estoppel claims that were first alleged in a third amended complaint. Claims for recovery based on breach of written contract and breach of the implied covenant o good faith arising from the same unlawful detainer were not dismissed because they were filed two years earlier and thus deemed untimely even though the anti-SLAPP motion was filed within 60 days of filing the third amended complaint. The order was affirmed by the California Supreme Court. "[S]ubject to the trial court’s discretion under section 425.16, subdivision (f), to permit late filing, a defendant must move to strike a cause of action within 60 days of service of the earliest complaint that contains that cause of action." "Section 425.16, subdivision (f), should be interpreted to permit an anti-SLAPP motion against an amended complaint if it could not have been brought earlier, but to prohibit belated motions that could have been brought earlier (subject to the trial court’s discretion to permit a late motion)." Anti-SLAPP motions are to curb abuse by Plaintiffs by quickly resolving claims affecting First Amendment issues, but they are subject to abuse by Defendants because an anti-SLAPP motion stays discovery pending the motion, stays proceedings on the merits for claims affected by the motion, and is immediately appealable. The stated approach balances these opposing interests and potentials for abuse. Newport Harbor Ventures, LLC v. Morris Cerullo World Evangelism, 6 Cal.App.5th, 212 Cal.Rptr.3d 216 (2017).

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