MAPC Wins Another “Anti-SLAPP” Motion
Michel & Associates, P.C. has won another Strategic Motion to Strike (“anti-SLAPP”) motion. As a result, the court ordered MAPC’s client to be reimbursed for its attorney’s fees and costs in defeating the opposing party’s anti-SLAPP motion.
After being sued by the plaintiffs regarding a land boundary dispute, MAPC’s client filed a cross-complaint against the plaintiffs for trespassing on the disputed property and creating a nuisance. In response to the cross-complaint, the plaintiffs filed an anti-SLAPP motion, claiming that the cross-complaint was little more than an attempt to punish plaintiffs for utilizing the courts.
California law permits defendants who are sued to bring an anti-SLAPP motion – a summary motion – when the purpose of the lawsuit is brought to punish defendant’s free speech on a matter of public importance, or if the lawsuit is designed to impede defendant’s access to the courts. When such a motion is filed, an evidentiary hearing is held on the merits of the purportedly punitive lawsuit.
In this instance, the court fully rejected the claim that the cross-complaint was punitive or punished the plaintiffs’ free speech. The court further found that the plaintiffs’ anti-SLAPP motion itself was frivolous – a rare finding – and ordered plaintiffs and their attorney to reimburse MAPC’s client for its fees and costs incurred for fighting the frivolous motion.
This latest win comes on the heels of MAPC successfully filing an anti-SLAPP motion on behalf of a client defendant last year. MAPC’s efforts there also resulted in an attorney’s fee award in favor of its client.