''Public Interest'' Definition Within California`s anti-SLAPP Statute

"The definition of 'public interest' within the meaning of the anti-SLAPP statute has been broadly construed to include not only governmental matters, but also private conduct that impacts a broad segment of society and/or that affects a community in a manner similar to that of a governmental entity. " (Damon v. Ocean Hills Journalism Club (2000) 85 Cal.App.4th 468, 479, citing Macias v. Hartwell (1997) 55 Cal.App.4th 669, 674.) Other courts have also concluded that private conduct may constitute a matter of public interest pursuant to the SLAPP statute, but only in circumstances where the conduct either affected or concerned the public in general or a large segment of it. In Church of Scientology v. Wollersheim (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 628, 650-651 (disapproved on another ground in Equilon Enterprises v. Consumer Cause, Inc. (2002) 29 Cal.4th 53), the court stated that "matters of public interest . . . may also include activities that involve private persons and entities, especially when a large, powerful organization may impact the lives of many individuals." In Ludwig v. Superior Court (1995) 37 Cal.App.4th 8, 15; the court concluded that "the development of a mall, with potential environmental effects such as increased traffic and impact on natural drainage, is clearly a matter of public interest." In ComputerXpress, Inc. v. Jackson, supra, 93 Cal.App.4th at p. 1008, the court determined that the matters at issue were of public interest because "ComputerXpress is a publicly traded company. Although the record does not appear to indicate how many shareholders it has, indications of the number of ComputerXpress shares outstanding vary from 12,000,000 to 24,000,000. ComputerXpress's allegation that it lost $ 10,000,000 as a result of failure of potential investors to purchase its stock due to defendants' conduct further suggests its public importance . . . ."