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SLAPP Primer

(Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation)

Definition of a SLAPP suit:

1. Suit Arises from protected speech or petition activity; and

2. Suit lacks merit.

Basic functions of anti-SLAPP motions:

TO QUICKLY AND INEXPENSIVELY

1. Identify SLAPP suits early on;

2. Dismiss SLAPP suits early on;

3. Compensate the defendant for attorney's fees and costs; and

4. Deter the filing of future SLAPP suits.

SLAPP Analysis post-CCP§ 425.17 statute

THREE STEPS INSTEAD OF TWO

1. Does the cause of action "arise from" "protected activity" described in CCP § 425.16, subd. (e), broadly construed?

Defendant has burden. Wilcox v. Superior Court (1994) 27 Cal.App.4th 809, 820-823.

2. If so, does the cause of action arise from activity that is specifically exempted under newly enacted CCP§ 425.17 ?

Plaintiff will most likely have burden of establishing exception applies under the rationale in Wilcox v. Superior Court (1994) 27 Cal.App.4th 809.

3. If not, has plaintiff established a "probability of prevailing" on the merits of each claim with competent admissible evidence sufficient to raise a triable issue fact as to each element of the claim?

Plaintiff has burden. See Wilcox v. Superior Court (1994) 27 Cal.App.4th 809, 820-823.

The New law applies to cases pending on 1/1/04 as procedural statutes do not change the legal consequences of past conduct. Robertson v. Rodriguez (1995) 36 Cal.App.4th 347