SLAPP’d in San Diego: Court of Appeal Confirms Requirement that a Malicious Prosecution Plaintiff Prove it Prevailed as to Entire Prior Action

This post is part of an ongoing series on California’s anti-SLAPP law from the perspective of Los Angeles appellate and trial attorney, Jeff Lewis. The First Amendment and California’s anti-SLAPP law have long been held to protect litigation related activities. Filing a lawsuit, for example, is protected by the First Amendment. Statements made in court proceedings are likewise protected. If a defendant is sued for such litigation activities, the defendant can usually quickly obtain a dismissal by filing an anti-SLAPP motion.

In Lane v. Bell, a plaintiff had lost most but not all of the claims pled in a prior action. In a subsequent action for malicious prosecution, the defendant (who was previously the plaintiff) filed an anti-SLAPP motion. Key to resolving the anti-SLAPP motion was whether the prior plaintiff’s victory as to one cause of action precluded the later claim for malicious prosecution? The Fourth Appellate District concluded it did. To prove a claim for malicious prosecution, a prior defendant must prove that in the prior action he prevailed as to the entire action. The Court of Appeal held that the anti-SLAPP motion was properly granted because the prior plaintiff had prevailed on at least one cause of action.

Jeff Lewis is an experienced First Amendment attorney who can advise you about the specifics of your anti-SLAPP issue or appeal.  Each case is different and you should consult a lawyer rather than relying on this post as legal advice for your situation.  If you are contemplating filing or responding to lawsuit or appeal with potential anti-SLAPP issues, consider hiring a certified appellate specialist as your lawyer or co-counsel.  Don’t wing it, win it.

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