Developments of Interest

New Cases of Interest - May 17, 2017

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Shaw v. Superior Court (2017) 2 Cal.5th 983.  The question here was whether an employee's whistleblower-related claims as a matter of public policy had to be reserved for jury trial rather than subject to other dispute resolution processes.  The Supreme Court held that there is no public policy right to a jury trial on a whistleblower claim pursuant to Health & Safety Code § 1278.5(g), but the employee was entitled to a jury trial under a related tort cause of action for wrongful termination and violation of public policy pursuant to Health & Safety Code § 1278.5(m).

Jackson v. Mayweather (2017) 10 Cal.App.5th 1240.  This is a SLAPP case in which the plaintiff sued defendant for a number of claims including invasion of privacy, defamation, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.  The claims were based on the defendant's social media posting about the termination of the plaintiff's pregnancy and its relationship to the couple's prior separation, as well as comments made during a radio interview.  Defendant filed a SLAPP motion.

The Court of Appeal directed that the SLAPP motion be granted with respect to the causes of action for defamation and false light portrayal and public disclosure of private facts which were based on the defendant's comment concerning plaintiff's abortion and cosmetic surgery, but denied the motion on the other causes of action.  The social media postings the Court determined were "celebrity gossip" and properly construed as statements in connection with an issue of public interest under CCP § 425.16(e)(4).  The plaintiff failed to demonstrate a probability of prevailing on these causes of action given that she had not contested the truth of the defendant's declaration concerning those facts.

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