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New Cases of Interest - June 23, 2015
Bergstein v. Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP (2015) 236 Cal.App.4th 793. This is a SLAPP decision in which in an underlying action the plaintiffs had sued their lawyers successfully alleging that the lawyers breached their fiduciary duty and engaged in professional negligence in assisting their opponents in litigation. In the new action the plaintiffs alleged that the opponents' lawyer engaged in illegal conduct by soliciting and receiving confidential information from plaintiffs' lawyers. Defendants filed a SLAPP motion. The court concluded that the allegation that the lawyers solicited and received confidential, privileged and/or proprietary information from plaintiffs' former lawyers was based on protected activity within the meaning of the SLAPP statute because the specific acts of alleged wrongdoing were litigation activities. The opposing lawyers' advocacy on behalf of their clients formed the basis for plaintiffs' current complaint. Plaintiffs were unable to show a probability of prevailing because the opposing attorneys had established in their motion all of the elements necessary to assert the litigation privilege pursuant to Civil Code § 47 and the case appeared to be time-barred by the statute of limitations in CCP § 340.6.