An Anti-SLAPP motion may target allegations of protected activity that form the basis of a claim for relief even if the complaint also alleges unprotected activity as part of the same “cause of action.” Rejecting the rule first stated in Mann v. Quality Old Time Service, Inc. (2004) 120 Cal.App.4th 90, this decision holds that an Anti-SLAPP motion to strike may be brought against any allegations of protected activity that are alleged as grounds for relief even if those allegations are mixed in a “cause of action” of the complaint that also avers unprotected activity as grounds for the same or other relief. In other words, like a traditional motion to strike, an Anti-SLAPP motion may target some allegations but not all of what is included in the complaint as a single “cause of action,” so long as the protected activity is not merely incidental or collateral and thus not the basis for any claim for relief. Clarifying the parties burdens on an Anti-SLAPP motion, the decision says a defendant initially bears the burden of identifying all the allegations of protected activity and the claims for relief they support. If the court agrees that a claim for relief is supported (even in part) by allegations of protected activity, it is then the plaintiff’s burden to show that the claim is legally sufficient and factually substantiated.
California Supreme Court (Corrigan, J.); Aug. 1, 2016; 2016 WL 4074081