SLAPP Case Study Examples

SLAPP Case Study Examples

SLAPP Case Example 1
Plaintiffs sued developer and related entities for rehabilitating residences prior to sale without pulling permits on the basis of fraud and nondisclosure. Separate successful mediations resolved the cases subject to confidentiality and the developer repurchased one of the properties. The developer then sought a variance for his illegal construction from the planning commission and both Plaintiffs testified against granting the developer a variance. When the variance was denied the developer sued Plaintiffs and then appealed to the city council. Plaintiffs again testified against the variance on appeal.

Plaintiffs filed anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (“SLAPP”) motions to strike the developers’ complaints under Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16. In both cases, two sets of anti-SLAPP motions were granted and attorney’s fees (at $280.00 per hour) were awarded by statute—one with a multiplier enhancement of 1.5. The developer appealed and the granting of the anti-SLAPP motions and the awards of attorney’s fees were all affirmed in full. Notably, opposing counsel on appeal and for a substantial portion of the trial court proceedings was Ropers, Majeski, Kohn & Bentley. After appeal, the combined attorney’s fees awarded in the two cases exceeded $250,000.00.

Case Information
: SCJ, INC., et al. v. Davis (SDSC Case No. GIN011226; 4th DCA, Div. 1, Case No. D038673 [unpublished]); &
 Dirty Work Construction v. McCarroll (SDSC Case No. GIN011227; 4th DCA, Div. 1, Case No. D038578 [unpublished])

SLAPP Case Example 2
Buyer sued Seller for specific performance of a real estate contract and for breach of contract. Seller alleged that the “owner” of the subject property did not sign the purchase agreement because her mother signed it. Seller’s mother was added as a defendant. Upon further investigation, it was revealed that Seller’s family frequently transferred their real estate holdings around the family and had a prior judgment against them for fraudulent transfers of real estate. Discovery also disclosed that Seller’s mother had, in the two years prior to the purchase agreement, signed two listing agreements for the subject property, cancelled a listing agreement for the subject property, signed an earlier purchase agreement for the subject property, and signed a property management agreement for the subject property all as the “owner” of the property. The trial court denied demurrers and motions to strike along with Seller’s motion for summary judgment. Judgment entered for $125,000.00 on breach of Stipulation for Settlement. The judgment was subsequently affirmed on appeal.

After entry of judgment in the first action, Sellers sued Buyer in a second action for fraud. Buyer filed an anti-SLAPP motion, which was granted, because Sellers alleged that Buyer’s fraud occurred in the first lawsuit. Buyer was then awarded anti-SLAPP attorney’s fees (at $300.00 per hour). Sellers again appealed and Sellers’ appeals from the anti-SLAPP motion and award of attorney’s fees were dismissed resulting in additional appellate attorney’s fees.

Case Information: 
Cuddeback v. Yeung, Lee (SDSC Case No. GIC 829326; 4th DCA, Div. 1, Case No. D050932 [unpublished]); & Lee v. Joyner, et al. (SDSC Case No. GIC 879794; 4th DCA, Div. 1, Case Nos. D051019 & D051667)