On March 15, 2019, Brian Carter successfully opposed an anti-SLAPP motion filed against the firm’s clients. The case was a dispute over a road and easement.
The neighbor filed the complaint claiming breach of a contract to upgrade the road, and the firm’s clients filed a cross-complaint, including a claim for slander of title against the neighbor. The neighbor demanded that the clients dismiss the slander of title claim, and the clients decided to comply. Then, however, the neighbor went ahead and filed an anti-SLAPP motion anyway. The neighbor claimed, incredibly, that the California Supreme Court held in Baral v. Schnitt, 1 Cal.5th 376, that anti-SLAPP motions no longer have to result in the elimination of a claim for relief based on protected activity. It is enough, the neighbor asserted, to identify allegations of protected activity and to have them removed.
Mr. Carter argued that this position and the motion were frivolous and that the motion should never have been filed. If the court found that the motion was frivolous, it would have to award attorney fees to the firm’s clients. The Superior Court denied the motion but declined to find that the motion is frivolous. Mr. Carter believes that the First District Court of Appeal might have a different take on the matter if the neighbor is so unwise as to appeal the denial of the motion itself.