Crossroads Investors, L.P. v. Federal National Mortgage Association

A lender’s silence in response to the borrower’s request for payoff quotes and reinstatement demands is not First Amendment-protected activity, so the lender’s Anti-SLAPP motion was properly denied.  The trial court correctly denied Fannie Mae’s Anti-SLAPP motion in this case involving foreclosure of a loan on an apartment complex.  Crossroads’ first claim was that Fannie Mae had not provided it with an accounting, payoff statement or reinstatement amount either in response to its interrogatories in Crossroad’s bankruptcy proceedings or in response to its oral demands for same.  This decision holds that while the interrogatory responses were protected activity under CCP 425.16(e), Fannie Mae’s silence in response to the oral requests for a payoff quote or reinstatement amount was not.  Since the claim involved not merely incidental protected conduct, Crossroads was required to prove a prima facie case in support of its claim, which it did by showing that it was entitled to the reinstatement amount under Civ. Code 2924c even without a written request and that Fannie Mae had not given it that number.  Crossroads’ other claim was that Fannie Mae’s attorney had promised after Fannie Mae’s relief from stay motion was granted, to provide Crossroads advance notice of a foreclosure sale, which Fannie Mae did not do.  The promise was not protected activity because there was no on-going proceeding in bankruptcy at the time and communications about the non-judicial foreclosure were also not protected activity.

California Court of Appeal, Third District (Nicholson, Acting P.J.); April 14, 2016; 2016 WL 1554829

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