SAN FRANCISCO — California's First District Court of Appeal recently decided to uphold the San Francisco City and County Superior Court's decision in libel case Mark Hooshmand vs. Karleen Latorya Griffin.
In its April 17 decision, the appeals court upheld the superior court's decision to not grant Griffin's motion to strike Hooshmand's libel and false light accusations and its decision in her favor in her motion in response to Hooshmand's accusation of "intentional infliction of emotional distress."
The appeals court said in its decision that Hooshmand, an attorney, sued Griffin, his former client, for negative internet postings she made about him after she was unsatisfied with the way he handled a lawsuit against her landlord.
According to the appeals court, Griffin attempted to have the court strike the accusations against her under California's anti-SLAPP statue. SLAPP, or a strategic lawsuit against public participation, is a controversial legal strategy in which a party attempts to silence its critics via protracted and costly legal proceedings.
The court denied Griffin's request related to the libel and false light accusations, but it granted her request regarding Hooshmand's claim of "intentional infliction of emotional distress." Griffin appealed the first part of the superior court's decision, while Hooshmand appealed the second part.
The appeals court decided to uphold the superior court's decision on the "libel and false light" accusations.
"While Griffin freely utilized loaded language and many of her assertions are non-actionable opinion, we note she, herself, essentially proclaimed on more than one occasion that what she said was true," the court said in its ruling.
The appeals court decided to uphold the second part of the superior court's decision because Hooshmand "did not make a sufficient showing of the kind of outrageous behavior or the severe emotional suffering required to support such a cause of action."