Recently, Gordon Bowley and John Sciacca were successful in an Anti-SLAPP motion in a matter pending in Yuba County. The matter arose when their client was participating in a public debate regarding new ordinances and regulations related to marijuana. During that debate, the defendant made a comment about one of the other participants in the debate. The firm’s client also had a blog regarding issues related to those measures being presented on a ballot in Yuba County. Based upon the comments made at the debate and the blog that their client maintained, two individuals filed suit for libel per se.
Gordon and John initially reached out to the plaintiffs’ attorney advising that the lawsuit violated and attacked their client’s free speech and petitioning activity as the comments related to a matter of public concern and were made during and on public forums. Counsel for the plaintiffs was advised that failure to dismiss would result in an Anti-SLAPP motion and recovery of attorney’s fees pursuant to the applicable Code of Civil Procedure. The complaint was not dismissed.
John prepared the initial moving papers with respect to the Anti-SLAPP motion itself. Without receiving any timely opposition, John then strategically prepared a reply to a non-opposition for the Anti-SLAPP motion. Two days before oral argument, at approximately 5:00 p.m., Gordon and John actually received an opposition to the Anti-SLAPP motion by way of fax.
That night, John began preparing the reply to the opposition pointing out that the plaintiffs offered no admissible evidence showing that they had a likelihood of prevailing on their causes of action. John also pointed out that the opposition was not timely filed or served and there was no declaration supporting any excusable neglect on the part of the plaintiffs’ attorney. John also pointed out that the pleadings and the contentions in the pleadings did not have sufficient information to support the causes of action.
Gordon Bowley then finalized the reply providing further analysis that the complaint was insufficient to support the causes of action and that plaintiffs could not rely upon their verified complaint as admissible evidence in support of the opposition. The final reply was approximately ten pages and according to the judge hearing the matter it was “A+ quality work.”
John appeared at oral argument with respect to the Anti-SLAPP motion. A week after the hearing, the judge issued his ruling granting the Anti-SLAPP and awarded over $4,000 in attorney’s fees. Gordon and John have gone ahead and proceeded with a judgment against the plaintiffs for over $4,000.
Gordon and John have had recurrent success with Anti-SLAPP motions in their tenure with Powers Miller. Mr. Sciacca successfully litigated an Anti-SLAPP motion against a plaintiff who was represented by one of the preeminent authorities on internet law in the country. That particular case resulted in over $15,000 in attorney’s fees being awarded on behalf of John’s client. When it comes to complex civil litigation matters, Gordon and John have a well-known history of continued success.