The issue of whether a real party in interest in a mandamus proceeding is a “person” against whom a claim is asserted for purposes of the anti-SLAPP statute has apparently not been addressed in any reported decision. However, as Petitioners in this case acknowledged, by definition a “real party in interest” in a mandamus proceeding is a “ ‘ “person or entity whose interest will be directly affected by the proceeding.” ’ ” (Redevelopment Agency v. Commission on State Mandates (1996) 43 Cal.App.4th 1188, 1197, quoting Sonoma County Nuclear Free Zone ’86 v. Superior Court (1987) 189 Cal.App.3d 167, 173.) By identifying Real Parties in their Petition as real parties in interest, Petitioners therefore necessarily alleged that Real Parties had a direct interest in the proceedings. In light of that alleged direct interest, a reasonable attorney could have concluded that, as a matter of law, Real Parties were “persons” against whom a claim was asserted under section 425.16, subdivision (b)(1).
In this action, Real Parties appealed the sanctions order against them in the amount of $28,795.70 in favor of Petitioners, arguing that it is an issue of first impression whether a real party in interest in a mandamus proceeding is a “person” against whom a cause of action is asserted for purposes of an anti-SLAPP motion under section 425.16, subdivision (b). They also argued that the Petition challenges their petitioning activity in seeking permits from the Commission and not just the decisions of the Commission itself. Thus, Real Parties claim that there was a reasonable basis for their motion. The California Court of Appeal agreed and reversed.
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Robert Rodriguez has prosecuted and defended California’s Anti-SLAPP law Section 425.16 of the Code of Civil Procedure, et seq. in the State of California courts. Robert Rodriguez has litigated well over 100 family law cases and civil litigation matters including personal injury motor vehicle cases, dog bite and slip & fall cases, breach of contract, defamation & invasion of privacy, fraud, unfair business practice, malicious prosecution, workplace and employment matters including sexual harassment, wrongful termination, wage & hour violations, discrimination pursuant to the FEHA, Gov’t Code §§ 12940 et seq., violations of the FMLA & Pregnancy Leave, Civil Rights discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in the State of California and California federal district courts.
* Disclaimer – Robert Rodriguez is licensed to practice only in the State of California & this analysis is applied only under State of California law. Robert Rodriguez is also admitted to practice in the U.S. District Courts, Central, Northern & Eastern Districts of California.