A licensed physician sued other medical entities and individuals for defamation based on statements made about her qualifications, competence, and medical ethics.
In June 2018, plaintiffs-respondents Suzanne Yang and Doc Yang Medical Corporation sued defendants-appellants Tenet Healthcare Inc. doing business as John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital (the hospital), its medical staff, and individual doctors, alleging defamation and nine other causes of action.
Defendants filed a special motion to strike (anti-SLAPP motion) targeting only the defamation cause of action. Dr. Yang alleged that since March 2016, defendants conspired to drive her practice out of business in various ways, including by making defamatory statements.
Defendants’ anti-SLAPP motion contended that the statements were protected activity because they were made in connection with the hospital’s peer review process, and because they were made in furtherance of the exercise of the right of free speech in connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest.
Defendants also contended that Dr. Yang could not demonstrate a probability of prevailing because she consented to the peer review process that the statements were purportedly in connection with, and because the statements were privileged.
In this anti-SLAPP appeal, the California Court of Appeal applied the Supreme Court’s recent opinion in FilmOn.com Inc. v. DoubleVerify, Inc. (2019) 7 Cal.5th 133 (FilmOn), and concluded that the defendants’ conduct arose from protected activity because their allegedly defamatory statements were made in connection with an issue of public interest.
The California Court of Appeal further concluded that the physician had not demonstrated a probability of prevailing on the merits. The California Court of Appeal therefore reversed the trial court, which denied the anti-SLAPP motion.
If you are faced with California’s Anti-SLAPP issues and despicable defamation, you need a highly skilled and tenacious attorney as your advocate! Contact the Law Office of Robert Rodriguez immediately! 209-596-4263 or 510-736-4033.
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. Robert Rodriguez has practiced in the California Court of Appeal. The Law Office of Robert Rodriguez does not represent guarantees.