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California’s Anti-SLAPP Law and Related State Statutes

The California anti-SLAPP law was enacted by the state Legislature almost twenty years ago to protect the petition and free speech rights of all Californians. Amendments have been made since that time to improve the law and provide stronger protection from meritless lawsuits to anyone who is SLAPPed in California.

Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16

California’s anti-SLAPP statute provides for a special motion to strike a complaint where the complaint arises from activity exercising the rights of petition and free speech. The statute was first enacted in 1992.

Code of Civil Procedure section 425.17

This statute was enacted to correct abuse of the anti-SLAPP statute (CCP § 425.16). It prohibits anti-SLAPP motions in response to (1) public interest litigation when certain conditions are met, and (2) certain actions against a business that arise from commercial statements or conduct of the business.

Code of Civil Procedure section 425.18

This statute was enacted primarily to facilitate the recovery by SLAPP victims of their damages through a SLAPPback (malicious prosecution action) against the SLAPP filers and their attorneys after the underlying SLAPP has been dismissed. It provides that the prevailing defendant attorney fee and immediate appeal provisions of the anti-SLAPP law do not apply to SLAPPbacks, and that an anti-SLAPP motion may not be filed against a SLAPPback by a party whose filing or maintenance of the prior cause of action from which the SLAPPback arises was illegal as a matter of law.

Code of Civil Procedure sections 1987.1 and 1987.2

These statutes set forth a procedure for challenging subpoenas. The 2008 amendment to section 1987.1 allows any person to challenge subpoenas for “personally identifying information” sought in connection with an underlying lawsuit involving that person’s exercise of free speech rights. This amendment also added section 1987.2(b), which provides that such a person who successfully challenges such a subpoena arising from a lawsuit filed in another state based on exercise of free speech rights on the Internet is entitled to recover his or her attorney fees.

Civil Code section 47

Defines privileged publication or broadcast and immunizes participants in official proceedings or litigation against all tort actions except malicious prosecution. This statute figures prominently in many cases. Check back soon for links to some cases arising from this law.

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