March 3, 2017

Summary of March 1, 2017, conference report for civil cases

The following is our summary of the Supreme Court’s actions on petitions for review in civil cases from the Court’s conference on Wednesday, March 1, 2017.  The summary includes those civil cases in which (1) review has been granted, (2) review has been denied but one or more justices has voted for review, or (3) the Court has ordered depublished an opinion of the Court of Appeal.

Review Granted

Wilson v. Cable News Network, Inc., S239686 – Review Granted and Held – March 1, 2017

In a 2-1 published opinion, Wilson v. Cable News Network, Inc. (2016) 6 Cal.App.5th 822, the Court of Appeal, Second District, Division One, reversed a judgment after the granting of an anti-SLAPP motion against a former CNN producer, who alleged race and age discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, and defamation.  The court majority held that the defendant’s alleged conduct was outside the scope of the anti-SLAPP statute, stating, “This is a private employment discrimination and retaliation case, not an action designed to prevent defendants from exercising their First Amendment rights.”  The dissenting justice, on the other hand, concluded, “a news organization’s employment decisions concerning a person, like Wilson, who has an undisputedly central role on the content of the news concerns an act in furtherance of the organization’s First Amendment rights and made in connection with issues of public interest.”

The Supreme Court ordered briefing deferred pending decision in Park v. Board of Trustees of California State University, S229728, which was argued last month and presents the following issue:  Does Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16 authorize a court to strike a cause of action in which the plaintiff challenges only the validity of an action taken by a public entity in an “official proceeding authorized by law” (subd. (e)) but does not seek relief against any participant in that proceeding based on his or her protected communications?

Review Denied (with dissenting justices)




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