Monday, August 01, 2016

Baral v. Schnitt (Cal. Supreme Ct. - Aug. 1, 2016)

This is an opinion that resolves a highly contested issue in the Court of Appeal:  Whether a "mixed" cause of action -- one that alleges both protected and non-protected activity -- is subject to an anti-SLAPP motion.  The California Supreme Court concludes, unanimously, that it is.

That's definitely an important holding.  It broadens the anti-SLAPP statute, and I think it does so in a beneficial way.  Moreover, Justice Corrigan's reasoning in this regard seems very persuasive to me.

So I'm definitely pleased with the result.

Yet the structure of the opinion itself leaves me somewhat hollow.

There's essentially seventeen pages of extensive history -- in particular, the various conflicting opinions by the Court of Appeal on the subject -- followed by six pages of analysis and result.

I understand why opinions are sometimes written that way.  But it seems unnecessarily plodding, at least here.

We are where we are.  Yes, it's perhaps interesting, in a way, to see how we got there.  How language from X opinion was thought by the Court of Appeal in Y opinion to mean Z even though later Court of Appeal opinion A thought that B might not follow from C.  As an historical matter, I get it, and I personally like to see how law changes over time.  Particularly when, as a result, it gets confused (as here).

That said, it's an opinion from the California Supreme Court.  Once we're there, it seems more important to me to expand upon the analysis rather than a (somewhat distracting) discourse on the particular path through which we wound up in our present predicament.  The "backstory" just seems not especially important at this point.

My take, anyway.

But, again, an important case.  And one that resolves the issue both conclusively as well as correctly.