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ANTI-SLAPP MOTIONS

Defined. Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP suits) are meritless lawsuits designed to punish parties for protected activities (the right to petition or free speech). A party can move to strike a SLAPP suit by filing an anti-SLAPP motion. (Code Civ. Proc. §425.16) There is a two-prong test: the moving party must show the lawsuit arises from its protected activities; the responding party can defeat the motion by showing the lawsuit has merit.

Successful Anti-SLAPP Motions. Anti-SLAPP motions have been used successfully in:

  • Damon v. Ocean Hills (2000) Defamation claim by former manager dismissed because published statements were of public interest.
  • Dowling v. Zimmerman (2001). Letter from resident's attorney to board re nuisance caused by other owner protected.
  • Ruiz v. Harbor View (2005) Claim against the association's attorney for writing a letter admonishing the owner dismissed.
  • Healy v. Tuscany Hills (2006) Lawsuit over a letter to the membership reporting litigation involving a member dismissed.
  • Cabrera v. Alam (2011). Statements made at annual meeting are protected activity under the anti-SLAPP statute.
  • Lee v. Silviera (2016) Lawsuit against directors for their vote at a board meeting dismissed.
  • Colyear v. Rolling Hills (2017) Complaint to the HOA about blocked views is protected speech.
  • Kulick v. Leisure Village (2018)Attorney letter to membership in response to owner's newsletter is protected.

Unsuccessful Anti-SLAPP Motions.

  • Silk v. Feldman (2012). If communications to the membership are defamatory on their face, an anti-SLAPP motion can be denied.
  • Rogo v. Gottlieb (2016). Letter to the membership by the association's attorney was sent with malice toward an owner.

ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.

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