The Civil Action Alleging Anti-Competitive Conduct in the Autograph Memorabilia Industry
Kelley Clarke PC filed a civil action against leading players in the autographed memorabilia industry. KC alleged Defendants engaged in anti-competitive conduct directed against KC’s clients. The Defendants filed motions to strike the complaint. They claimed that the allegations in the complaint violated the anti-SLAPP statute. The statute protects, among other things, free speech and access to courts. The Defendants argued that just because the complaint related to autographed memorabilia, the lawsuit as a whole is a matter of public concern subject to the anti-SLAPP statute. The judge disagreed with Defendants, denying their motion.
Defendants Urge Misapplication of Anti-SLAPP
The California Legislature enacted the anti-SLAPP statute to ensure that people could enjoy their free speech rights and access to courts without the threat of lawsuits, usually by big companies. Big companies sued individuals to stop them from protesting and otherwise stop them from exercising their free speech rights. In this case, no such issues are at stake. These days, many defendants use the statute to delay or halt the litigation. Filing an anti-SLAPP motion freezes the case until the motion is decided. When Defendants appeal, the case is frozen during the appeal process as well.
KC Defeats Anti-SLAPP in the Trial Court – Defendants Appeal
The trial court correctly sided with KC’s clients. Unhappy with this result, the Defendants appealed. KC attorneys will argue the matter at the Court of Appeal in the coming weeks. Will the Court of Appeal agree with Defendants that all legal matters involving celebrities are subject to the anti-SLAPP statute? We think not.
When the case moves back to the trial court level, KC will prove that Defendants colluded to hamstring KC’s clients and harm their business.