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9/27/2017 » 9/29/2017
2017 PLDF Annual Meeting

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Patrick J. MaggioDewhirst Dolven, Colorado Springs, CO
D. G. Lovell Jr.Carlock Copeland & Stair, LLP Charleston, SC

Member Achievement and Case News: Featured

LPL Claim: Anti-SLAPP Defense Fails

Wednesday, June 21, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tom Jensen
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Clients entered bankruptcy after losing lawsuit and facing liability for adverse parties' $1 million-plus attorneys fees judgment and 10% annual interest. Bankruptcy trustee sued attorneys for legal malpractice for failing to advise clients of attorneys fees risk, for opposing the petition for judicial reference, for failing to advise clients of a settlement offer, and for failing to explain the risk of rejecting settlement offers. Defendants' demurrer and motion to strike failed. They then filed a special motion to strike contending the Anti-SLAPP statute immunized them from suit on grounds their work involved protected activity. Trial court ruled defendants did not meet the initial showing their conduct involved protected activity. In Gottlieb v. Bowen, 2017 WL 2558259 (Cal. App. June 13, 2017) the ruling was affirmed. In addressing Anti-SLAPP motions California considers whether the claim involved is a "garden variety" claim unworthy of Anti-SLAPP protection. Court ruled "this is a straightforward legal malpractice action where plaintiff alleges defendant's representation of the clients fell below the standard of care. The anti-SLAPP statute does not insulate defendants from any liability for claims arising from the protected rights of petition or speech. It only provides a procedure for weeding out, at an early stage, meritless claims arising from protected activity." "In cases where the protected rights of petition or speech are not implicated, the anti-SLAPP statute does not insulate defendants at all."

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