Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
California’s anti-SLAPP statute got a boost from the state Supreme Court on Thursday when justices decided that appeals based on the landmark First Amendment law must be decided before a case goes to trial. The 6-1 ruling is a victory for Michelangelo Delfino and Mary Day, two former employees of Varian Medical Systems Inc., who posted nasty messages about their ex-bosses on the Internet. Varian sued in Santa Clara County Superior Court and obtained a $775,000 jury verdict. But Thursday’s majority said the trial should not have gone forward because Delfino and Day had filed an anti-SLAPP motion — a strategic lawsuit against public participation — claiming that the company was trying to impede their speech. Although a trial judge denied the anti-SLAPP motion, the ex-employees appealed. The Supreme Court ruled that the trial should have been stayed pending the appeal. The opinion, written by Justice Janice Rogers Brown and signed by all but Chief Justice Ronald George, points out that, in enacting the statute, California legislators intended to “prevent and deter � meritless lawsuits [that] seek to deplete ‘the defendant’s energy’ and drain ‘his or her resources.’” Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to allow cases to proceed to trial before sorting out the anti-SLAPP issue. “In reaching this conclusion, we reject plaintiffs’ analogy of an appeal from the denial of an anti-SLAPP motion to an appeal from the denial of a preliminary injunction � or a motion to disqualify counsel,” Brown wrote. “By contrast, an anti-SLAPP motion goes ‘to the merits of the issues involved in the main action.’” The opinion tosses the $775,000 verdict and orders a new trial. George agreed with the majority’s reasoning but would have allowed the verdict to stand based on harmless error. The ruling is also a victory for media groups, which had filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the ex-employees. Horvitz & Levy partner Jeremy Rosen argued the case for Delfino and Day, while Lynne Hermle, of the Menlo Park office of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, represented Varian. The case is Varian Medical Systems Inc. v. Delfino, 05 C.D.O.S. 1871.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.