Developments of Interest

New Cases of Interest - June 3, 2013

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Mendoza v. Hamzeh (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 799.  This is a SLAPP case.  Plaintiff sued the defendant, an attorney, alleging civil extortion, intentional infliction of emotional distress and unfair business practices arising out of a demand letter which the defendant had sent to the plaintiff while defendant was representing a client in another dispute.  The letter from the defendant threatened to report plaintiff for criminal conduct, as well as for wrongdoing to the plaintiff's customers and vendors as well, if a demand for money was not met.  The defendant filed a SLAPP motion which was denied.  The court of appeal affirmed the trial court's order denying the motion concluding that the defendant's demand letter constituted criminal extortion as a matter of law and it was unnecessary for the letter to allege or list specific crimes.  The anti-SLAPP statute did not apply to the threat and the defendant's demand letter, and the motion was therefore properly denied.

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