Appeals Court Rules That Trial Court Erred in Ruling
Yesterday, we received a big victory in the 4th District Court of Appeals. Given the initial media coverage of the ruling, you may have suspected otherwise. Here is where things stand:
The trial court had previously ruled against the CMPA in an Anti-SLAPP motion, but the Appellate Court has reversed that decision. The Appellate Court ruled that the CMPA satisfied the criteria for the first prong of the Anti-SLAPP motion. The case was sent back to the trial court for a ruling on the second prong of the anti-SLAPP motion. If the court rules in our favor, CMPA’s role in this lawsuit will be greatly diminished.
The Appellate Court ruled that 31 of the 33 claims in the lawsuit were applicable to the Anti-SLAPP lawsuit. If the trial court rules in our favor on the anti-SLAPP lawsuit, those 31 claims will be dismissed. If so, only two claims would remain subject to a civil trial.
The two remaining claims relate to the Lene Righeimer’s assault allegation and Mayor Mensinger’s privacy violation related to the GPS device on his vehicle. CMPA had nothing to do with either of those allegations and we would expect to win easily at trial. The ruling on the anti-SLAPP motion is our next big step and that ruling is expected to come in the next few months.
As we continue to cooperate with the district attorney and their ongoing investigation, we are gearing up to take legal action against that firm for any wrongdoing. We appreciate the Court’s diligence in reaching this decision. We are looking forward to being fully exonerated on all accounts.
What is SLAPP?
The acronym stands for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. It has become a tool for intimidating and silencing critics. An anti-SLAPP law provides a solution to SLAPP suits.
Our legal team brought the anti-SLAPP law into play in the case because it involved speech on a matter of public concern. Anti-SLAPP statutes are meant to protect people from lawsuits of questionable merit that are often filed to intimidate speakers against criticizing a person, company, or project.
As it relates to the lawsuit, we hired a law firm that was recommended by our legal defense fund. A law firm that represented nearly every police association in Orange County. CMPA never directed the law firm to break the law nor had knowledge of it, if those events even occurred. We continue to cooperate with the district attorney to ensure any criminal activity is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
We are encouraged with our prospects ahead. It’s important to remember the many caring citizens who have stood by us and never believed the pack of lies and labels being thrown at us. We thank them for their stalwart support and the morale boost they have provided for us and our families.