Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Integrated Healthcare Holdings v. Fitzgibbons (Cal. Ct. App. - June 14, 2006)

I don't know much. But I do know this: When I'm representing the plaintiff (IIHS), and when the defendant has filed an anti-SLAPP motion, and when the appeal comes to Justice Aronson, I don't want him saying stuff like this about the arguments in my brief (much less do I want him saying it in a published opinion):

Citing Zhao v. Wong (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 1114, IHHI contends the e-mail did not concern a public issue because it did not relate to “the exercise of democratic self-government.” (Id. at p. 1122.) IHHI’s reliance on Zhao is misplaced, however, because its discussion of the anti-SLAPP statute’s scope has been superseded by the 1997 amendments to section 425.16. (See Sipple v. Foundation for National Progress (1999) 71 Cal.App.4th 226, 236.) [“the Senate Judiciary Committee expressly amended section 425.16 to mandate a broad interpretation of the statute in reaction to the over-narrow interpretation of Zhao v. Wong”].) Indeed, the California Supreme Court expressly disapproved Zhao on the very point for which IHHI cites it. (Briggs v. Eden Council for Hope & Opportunity (1999) 19 Cal.4th 1106, 1116 [“We agree . . . that ‘Zhao is incorrect in its assertion that the only activities qualifying for statutory protection are those which meet the lofty standard of pertaining to the heart of self-government’”].)

Yikes. Argument 101 of 10,000 in favor of shepardizing the cases you cite.

A lesson hard learned by counsel for IIHI, Yolita Nowak Lecellier (a graduate of Western State Law School),
Jeff I. Braun (a graduate of McGeorge), and Deborah S. Tropp (another McGeorge graduate).