California 's Court Of Appeal

885 Words Jun 9th, 2015 4 Pages
California’s Court of Appeal Clarifies Application of anti-SLAPP Statutes to Attorney Malpractice Actions

California’s “anti-SLAPP” statute (codified in Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16) protects the Constitutional rights to freedom of speech and right of petition by subjecting any cause of action that chills these rights to be subject to a special motion to strike. In the context of a complaint against an attorney for malpractice, the California Court of Appeal recently clarified its application under existing precedent and held the anti-SLAPP statute did not apply to claims against attorneys by former clients. In Loanvest I, LLC v. Utrecht et al (2015) 235 Cal.App.4th 496, the plaintiff brought an action against its attorneys for malpractice for failing to put its interests before a former client, resulting in damage. At the trial level, the court granted the defendant law firm’s special motion to strike under the anti-SLAPP statute, finding that the malpractice claim was based upon an act in furtherance of the protected right of petition. The plaintiff thereafter appealed. In making its decision, the trial court relied heavily upon Peregrine Funding, Inc. v. Sheppard Muillin Richter & Hampton (2005) 133 Cal.App.4th 658 where the Court of Appeal previously held that claims based upon allegations made by attorneys in judicial filings were within the scope of the anti-SLAPP statute and protected. For a claim to fall within the anti-SLAPP statute and result in…
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