Appeals court upholds lower court's decision in tenant harassment case

By Nicholas Gueguen | Apr 20, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — The California First District Court of Appeal recently decided to uphold the Alameda County Superior Court's decision to deny an anti-strategic lawsuit against public participation (anti-SLAPP) motion to strike on six counts and remanded 1918 Lakeshore Tenants Union et al vs. Lakeshore Apartments LP "for further proceedings" based on two decisions, including its own.

A SLAPP is a lawsuit that is filed to quiet critics by saddling them with the high costs of a legal defense until the critics eventually give up. 

In its decision filed April 3, the appeals court ruled that Lakeshore Apartments, which "owns and manages a 38-unit apartment building at 1918 Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland appealed the denial of its anti-SLAPP motion" because it wanted to "to strike the complaint brought by" 1918 Lakeshore Tenants Union "and a large number of tenants of the apartment building alleging multiple acts of harassment and misconduct designed to evict tenants and to cause tenants to terminate their tenancies."

According to the appeals court decision, 1918 Lakeshore Tenants Union and the tenants involved named 10 causes of action in their anti-SLAPP motion. The appeals court ruled that it "agreed that the trial court’s ruling must be vacated as to four of them."

The appeals court said the Alameda County Superior Court "denied" Lakeshore Apartments' "special motion to strike some of the enumerated causes of action on the ground they did not arise out of protected activity, thus failing to satisfy the first prong of the anti-SLAPP analysis." The appeals court explained that "the motion was denied as to other causes of action on the ground that tenants satisfied the second prong of the analysis by making a prima facie showing of their ability to prevail with respect to at least one alleged form of harassment on which the cause of action was based."

The appeals court also ruled that "the four-page unnumbered 'introduction' to the complaint shall be stricken." 

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