Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation California

" 'SLAPP is an acronym for 'strategic lawsuits against public participation.' A special motion to strike a SLAPP action, codified in . . . Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, provides a procedural remedy to gain an early dismissal of a lawsuit or cause of action that qualifies as a SLAPP.' " (Daniels v. Robbins (2010) 182 Cal.App.4th 204, 210, fn. 1.) This procedure is also known as an anti-SLAPP motion. (Id. at p. 210.) Code of Civil Procedure Section 425.16, subdivision (b)(1) provides that a cause of action arising from a constitutionally protected right of free speech is subject to a special motion to strike unless the plaintiff establishes the probability he or she will prevail on the claim. ( 425.16, subd. (b)(1).) In ruling on such a motion, the trial court must first determine whether the defendant has met the burden to show the activity underlying the cause of action is constitutionally protected. (Equilon Enterprises v. Consumer Cause, Inc. (2002) 29 Cal.4th 53, 67.) If the defendant establishes this, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to show a probability of prevailing on the cause of action. (Ibid.) Here, it is undisputed that UHC engaged in protected activity. Consequently, the only issue to be determined in this appeal is whether Robinson carried his burden to show a probability of prevailing at trial. ( 425.16, subd. (b)(1).) "In ruling on a special motion to strike, 'the court does not weigh the evidence or make credibility determinations. ' (Kashian v. Harriman (2002) 98 Cal.App.4th 892, 906.) Rather, once the plaintiff makes a prima facie showing of facts which would support a judgment in his or her favor, the court will 'consider the defendant's opposing evidence, but only to determine if it defeats the plaintiff's showing as a matter of law. ' (Ibid.) The process the court uses in determining whether the plaintiff has shown a probability of prevailing on the merits is similar to the process used in determining motions for nonsuit, directed verdict or summary judgment. (Paulus v. Bob Lynch Ford, Inc. (2006) 139 Cal.App.4th 659, 672; ComputerXpress, Inc. v. Jackson (2001) 93 Cal.App.4th 993, 1010; Kyle v. Carmon (1999) 71 Cal.App.4th 901, 907.) 'In order to establish the requisite probability of prevailing , the plaintiff need only have " 'stated and substantiated a legally sufficient claim' " "Put another way, the plaintiff 'must demonstrate that the complaint is both legally sufficient and supported by a sufficient prima facie showing of facts to sustain a favorable judgment if the evidence submitted by the plaintiff is credited.' " ' (Navellier v. Sletten (2002) 29 Cal.4th 82, 88-89.)" (Ross v. Kish (2006)145 Cal.App.4th 188, 197.) "Only a minimal showing of merit is required." (Robinson v. Vicory (2006) 143 Cal.App.4th 1416, 1421.) "If the plaintiff meets his or her burden the motion must be denied. (Mattel, Inc. v. Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps (2002) 99 Cal.App.4th 1179, 1189.)" (Ross at p. 197.)