Procedural Posture

Procedural Posture

Respondent filed a cross-complaint raising numerous claims, including alleged unfair business practices and violations of the Unruh Act, Cal. Civ. Code, § 51 et seq. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California) denied appellants’ motions to strike pursuant to Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.16, and this appeal followed.

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Overview

The issue on appeal involved the application of a Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.16 special motion to strike to a single cause of action raised in respondent’s multi-count cross-complaint brought against appellants. Appellants claimed the trial court erred in denying their section 425.16 motions because the unfair business practices and Unruh Act claims were based on allegations that fell within the scope of section 425.16 and respondent did not establish he would probably have prevailed on that claim. Appellants had the right to bring a special motion to strike because they fell within the scope of the “that person” language in Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.16(b). The cross-complaint arose from acts in furtherance of appellants’ constitutional petition and free speech rights and was therefore a proper subject of a special motion to strike.

Outcome

Judgment was reversed. Special motions to strike applied under the circumstances of this case to the individual cause of action. Respondent failed to establish that there was a probability he would prevail on that claim. Hence, the special motions to strike should have been granted.

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