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Barry J. Reagan and Gabriele M. Lashly Prevail on Appeal of Anti-SLAPP Motion

A condominium owner sued his homeowners association and board members for recording an assessment lien for unpaid dues and "coercing" him into a settlement in the underlying construction defect action the Association and owners had filed against the construction company and the sellers' real estate agents. After the underlying action was settled, the owner turned around and filed a "settle and sue" suit against the Association and its board members alleging that he was somehow misled in entering the settlement. Because the claims arose from protected speech in connection with litigation, the claims fell under the Anti-SLAPP statute. That statute is designed to allow quick resolution of meritless lawsuit designed to chill free speech or acces to courts. The court found that the claims fell under the Anti-SLAPP statute and the plaintiff did not show that he could prevail on the merits. It granted the homeowners association's Anti-SLAPP motion and awarded Slaughter, Reagan & Cole, LLP's clients all attorneys' fees incurred in connection with the Anti-SLAPP motion.

Plaintiff appealled the order granting the Anti-SLAPP motion. Gabriele M. Lashly, a certified appellate specialist, successfully defended the clients on appeal. The Court of Appeal in a 38-page opinion affirmed the Anti-SLAPP order in its entirety as to the homeowners association and the board members and awarded Slaughter, Reagan & Cole, LLP's clients their costs and attorneys' fees on appeal.