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New Cases of Interest - March 14, 2017
Daniel v. Wayans (2017) 8 Cal.App.5th 367. This is a SLAPP issue. In this case an actor who worked on a movie for one day sued a filmmaker asserting race-based harassment and other claims. The filmmaker filed a SLAPP motion. The trial court granted the motion and the Court of Appeal affirmed. The statements made by a cartoon character next to the actor's image was protected activity under the SLAPP statute. Although the actor's complaint was race-based harassment, the uncontradicted evidence established that the alleged misconduct was based on the exercise of free speech in the creation and promotion of the motion picture, including off camera creative processes. The movie was also an issue of public interest, given the continuing public interest in the filmmaker's work as his projects made fun of pop culture, racial stereotypes and current events. Posting a photo of the actor juxtaposed with a cartoon character was also a topic of public interest even though the actor may not have been well known to the public. The actor also did not show a probability of prevailing.
Blanchette v. Superior Court (2017) 8 Cal.App.5th 521. This was a construction defect action and the issue had to do with the notice requirements under the Right to Repair Act (Civil Code § 895, et seq.) The Court of Appeal found that although the homeowners' notice of claim was insufficient because it did not provide the reasonable details sufficient to determine the nature and location, to the extent known of claimed defects, as required by Civil Code § 910, nonetheless the builder's failure to timely acknowledge the homeowner's notice of claim and resolve the issue of specificity relieved the homeowner of any further obligations under the Act and the homeowner was free to pursue a construction defect class action lawsuit against the builder.