California Code of Civil Procedure Section 425.16

In Briggs v. Eden Council for Hope & Opportunity (1999) 19 Cal.4th 1106, the Supreme Court held a moving party relying on section 425.16, subdivision (e)(1) and (2), need establish only that the challenged statement was made within or in connection with an official proceeding whether or not it pertained to an issue of public significance: "Plainly read, section 425.16 encompasses any cause of action against a person arising from any statement or writing made in, or in connection with an issue under consideration or review by, an official proceeding or body." (Briggs, at p. 1113; see id. at p. 1123 "a defendant moving to strike a cause of action arising from a statement made before, or in connection with an issue under consideration by, a legally authorized official proceeding under subdivision (e)(1) and (2) need not separately demonstrate that the statement concerned an issue of public significance".) The Supreme Court explained, quoting from the Court of Appeal decision in Braun v. Chronicle Publishing Co. (1997) 52 Cal.App.4th 1036, 1047, "'Under the plain terms of the statute it is the context or setting itself that makes the issue a public issue: all that matters is that the First Amendment activity take place in an official proceeding or be made in connection with an issue being reviewed by an official proceeding.'" (Briggs, at p. 1116; accord, Kibler v. Northern Inyo County Local Hospital Dist. (2006) 39 Cal.4th 192, 198.) However, a defendant seeking to strike a cause of action that arises from protected conduct described in subdivision (e)(4), as here, must demonstrate the matter concerns a public issue or an issue of public interest. (Briggs, at pp. 1117-1118; Ben-Shahar v. Pickart (2014) 231 Cal.App.4th 1043, 1051) Section 425.16 does not define "public issue" or "issue of public interest," and "it is doubtful an all-encompassing definition could be provided." (Weinberg v. Feisel (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 1122, 1132.) "'Public interest' within the meaning of the anti-SLAPP statute has been broadly defined to include, in addition to government matters, '"private conduct that impacts a broad segment of society and/or that affects a community in a manner similar to that of a government entity."'" (Ruiz v. Harbor View Community Assn. (2005) 134 Cal.App.4th 1456, 1468; see Grenier v. Taylor (2015) 234 Cal.App.4th 471, 481 425.16 "requires the issue to include attributes that make it one of public, rather than merely private, interest"; "a matter of concern to the speaker and a relatively small, specific audience is not a matter of public interest".) For example, our colleagues in Division Three of this court held the fact Marlon Brando had named his retired housekeeper as a beneficiary in his living trust was an issue of public interest within the meaning of section 425.16, subdivision (e)(3) and (4), explaining: "A statement or other conduct is 'in connection with an issue of public interest' . . . if the statement or conduct concerns a topic of widespread public interest and contributes in some manner to a public discussion of the topic." (Hall v. Time Warner, Inc (2007) 153 Cal.App.4th 1337, 1347; see also DuCharme v. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 107, 118 matter may be of "public interest" for purposes of the statute even if the interest is not general but is limited to a "definable portion of the public"; in such circumstances, however, the statement must relate to an "ongoing controversy" such that it warrants protection by a statute that embodies encouragement of participation in matters of public significance; Rivero v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO (2003) 105 Cal.App.4th 913, 924 statement about supervision of a staff of eight custodians did not concern an issue of public interest; to establish "public issues" or "issues of public interest" within the meaning of the anti-SLAPP statute, it must be demonstrated (1) the challenged statements concerned a person or entity in the public eye or a topic of widespread public interest or (2) the protected conduct directly affected a large number of people beyond the direct participants.)