Thursday, November 8, 2018
Court of Appeal:
Anti-SLAPP Motions May Not Be Filed in Limited Civil Cases
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Court of Appeal for this district declared yesterday that anti-SLAPP motions may be filed only in unlimited jurisdiction civil cases.
Div. Three, in an opinion by Presiding Justice Lee Edmon, granted a writ of mandate ordering the Appellate Division of the Los Angeles Superior Court to vacate a decision in which it directed that a special motion to strike, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure §425.16, be acted upon in a limited jurisdiction civil case.
Edmon reasoned that Code of Civil Procedure §92, which spells out what pleadings and motions are permissible in limited civil cases, does not include anti-SLAPP motions. She pointed out that subdivision (d) provides:
“Motions to strike are allowed only on the ground that the damages or relief sought are not supported by the allegations of the complaint.”
The jurist wrote:
“A special motion to strike, or anti-SLAPP motion, is one brought on the ground that the cause of action against the defendant arose from defendant’s exercise of the constitutional right of petition or free speech in connection with a public issue so as to require the plaintiff to establish a probability of prevailing on the claim…—not ‘on the ground that the damages or relief sought are not supported by the allegations of the complaint.’…We conclude the restrictive language of section 92(d), which limits the type of motions to strike that may be brought in a limited civil case, precludes the filing of a special motion to strike in such a case.”
The Appellate Division had reasoned that a “special” motion to strike was separate and apart from the ordinary motion to strike which §92 sought to restrict in limited civil cases.
“At the time the Legislature enacted section 425.16, it declined to add language either to section 92 or to section 425.16 to expand the range of motions to strike that are allowed in limited civil cases. By refraining from doing so, the Legislature authorized special motions to strike to be filed in unlimited civil cases, but left unchanged section 92(d)’s restriction on motions to strike that may be brought in limited civil cases.”
The case is 1550 Laurel Owner’s Assn., Inc. v. Appellate Division of Superior Court, B288091.
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