O’Neil-Rosales v. Citibank (South Dakota) N.A.

An Anti-SLAPP motion was properly granted against suit alleging that creditor violated state and federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Acts by recording an abstract of judgment creditor had obtained against plaintiff’s former domestic partner.  An Anti-SLAPP motion to strike was properly granted in this FDCPA and RFDCPA suit against creditor and creditor’s lawyer.  Creditor sued Rosales, plaintiff’s domestic partner, on a debt, secured a judgment and recorded the judgment with the county recorder.  Plaintiff claimed that the recordation of the abstract of judgment imposed a lien on real property that she owned outright but had obtained from Rosales before entry of creditor’s judgment against him.  As a result of the lien she was unable to obtain a refinance loan on the property.  Held, creditor and attorney proved their acts of obtaining and recording the abstract of judgment were protected under CCP 425.16(e) as acts in the prosecution of a civil action.  Plaintiff failed to show any probability of success in her suit.  She was not the target of any collection activity by defendants and so could not state an FDCPA or RFDCPA claim.  Also, if plaintiff owned the property outright, the recordation of the abstract of a judgment solely against Rosales imposed no lien on the property.  If there were any confusion on that point, plaintiff’s remedy was not an FDCPA or RFDCPA claim, but rather a motion to correct the abstract and/or deliver a recordable document releasing the erroneous judgment lien (CCP § 697.410).

Los Angeles County Superior Court Appellate Division (Lee, C., J., sitting by assignment); March 7, 2017; 2017 WL 1929550

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