City Slapped Down on anti-SLAPP Claim

by Best Best & Krieger LLP
Contact

Details of a Potential NFL Deal for Carson Not of Public Interest, Court Says

In a decision that illustrates government entities’ limits of the anti-SLAPP process, an appellate court rejected the City of Carson’s use of the statute in defending against a broken contract claim. Carson hoped to lure an NFL franchise (or two) to town by developing a sports and entertainment complex, including a football stadium. To that end, the City entered into an exclusive agency agreement with Richard Rand and his Rand Resources to negotiate with the NFL for the franchise designation and stadium development. The relationship between the City and the mayor eventually soured, however, over an unrelated dispute.

Rand later alleged in a state court lawsuit against the City that the City violated the agreement and allowed Leonard Bloom and his company to begin to act as its agent and representative in negotiating with the NFL. The City and Bloom responded by filing an anti-SLAAP motion, asserting their communications regarding the proposed development of the NFL fell within the “public interest” portion of the statute.

The Legislature enacted the anti-SLAPP statute (CCP §425.16) in the 1990’s to provide an expedited pre-trial process to eliminate unmeritorious civil actions filed primarily to chill the exercise of political rights, such as the rights to free speech and to petition the government in connection with a public issue. Under this law, a defendant may move to have an action dismissed upon showing that the plaintiff’s cause of action arises from an act by the defendant in furtherance of the defendant’s right of petition or free speech in connection with a public issue. If established, the plaintiff must then demonstrate a likelihood of prevailing on the claim. Government entities soon deployed the anti-SLAPP process to ward off unmeritorious lawsuits challenging governmental decisions and actions, and the courts found that they were “persons” under the law and that government entities have “speech interests” as “governmental speakers.”

The trial court granted the anti-SLAPP motion and dismissed most of Rand’s lawsuit. He appealed. In a decision in Rand Resources v. City of Carson et al.on May 31, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order dismissing the various causes of action in Rand’s lawsuit. The court focused its analysis on what constitutes “an issue of public interest” under the statute. Critically, the court noted that, while the development of an NFL-worthy stadium and obtaining a team franchise for the City was a matter of “substantial public interest,” Rand’s lawsuit was predicated on commercial conduct, and in particular, who would represent the City in those negotiations. The court concluded that the identity of the City’s representative was not a matter of “public interest,” which must “go beyond the parochial particulars of the given parties.”

This decision demonstrates the limits of the anti-SLAPP process when deployed by a government entity. That is to say, not every act of a government entity is a matter of “public interest” under the statute, as that would sweep in a wide array of actions and decisions not comprehended by the law. As the appellate court observed, “[t]he part is not synonymous with the greater whole.” Thus, while there is great deal of fanfare and public interest in attracting an NFL franchise and developing an NFL stadium, the nitty gritty aspects of the deal are hardly what attracts and holds public interest.

[View source.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Best Best & Krieger LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Best Best & Krieger LLP
Contact
more
less

Best Best & Krieger LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.