Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Park 100 Inv. Group v. Ryan (Cal. Ct. App. - Dec. 23, 2009)

There's not much selection on the last working day before Christmas. Nothing from the Ninth Circuit today, and slim pickings from the California Court of Appeal.

Nonetheless, here's an opinion with everything. If by "everything" you mean a mish-mash of doctrinal principles that reads like a law school hypothetical. It's got property, civil procedure, and California-specific SLAPP principles. Plus a California lawyers -- Gregory R. Ryan and Wayne Brosman -- getting sued.

Here's the upshot: "The defendants in this case are attorneys who, in the course of representing a real property owner in a prior lawsuit involving an easement dispute, filed a lis pendens on a dominant tenement. The owners of the dominant tenement turned around and, in the present case, sued the attorneys claiming the lis pendens was wrongfully recorded. The attorneys appeal from the denial of their anti-SLAPP motion . . . . [W]e hold that it is proper to record a notice of pendency of action, commonly called a lis pendens, on a dominant tenement when the litigation is an easement dispute. . . . [and] that the attorneys are not foreclosed by the doctrine of collateral estoppel from addressing the validity of the lis pendens."

So the attorneys get a Christmas present -- namely, a reversal by the Court of Appeal of the denial of their anti-SLAPP motion. So a dismissal plus fees.

I can think of no nicer holiday present. Congratulations.