Clausen Miller Prevails on Anti-SLAPP Motion, Secures Appellate Victory
Clausen Miller attorneys Ian Feldman and Joseph Ferrini secured a significant appellate win when the California Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed an anti-SLAPP motion granted by a lower court in favor of their client, a law firm, in Roman James Design Build, Inc. v. Law Firm et. al.
In 2018, the plaintiff, Roman James Design Build, Inc., entered into contracts with third parties for four development projects. The plaintiff’s principal, Roman James, later filed a petition for divorce. The law firm represented James’ wife and recorded a lis pendens or notice of a pending legal action on the properties involved in the development projects and notified lenders with whom James was negotiating refinancing.
James and his real estate development firm moved to expunge the lis pendens, which the trial court granted. Following the motion, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint against the law firm, alleging “…intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic advantage and intentional interference with contract.”
On behalf of the law firm, Clausen filed an anti-SLAPP motion seeking to strike the first amended complaint in its entirety on the grounds that each cause of action within it was based on protected conduct in the forms of recording a lis pendes and related communications.
The trial court granted Clausen’s anti-SLAPP motion and awarded attorney fees, which the plaintiff appealed. The Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s decision, noting that the plaintiff did not meet the burden of establishing a probability of prevailing on its claims and that the act of recording a lis pendens is protected under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16.
Ian is a Clausen Miller shareholder and the managing partner of the firm’s California office. He has extensive litigation and trial experience defending contractors, design professionals, property managers, retail businesses, manufacturers, landowners, lawyers, accountants, brokers and healthcare professionals in all areas of professional, products, premises and construction liability matters.
Joe is a partner in Clausen Miller’s Appellate Practice group. He serves as appellate counsel at trials around the country, providing support to trial attorneys as needed and helping with preservation efforts, and has litigated appeals in federal and state courts, including Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, New York, New Jersey and the Seventh, Eighth and Tenth Circuits.