SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF ALAMEDA
Case No. 730012-8
Margaret Singer, et al.,
American Psychological Association, et. Al.,
This matter was regularly heard in Department 81 of this court before the Honorable Judge James Lambden presiding on June 10, 1994. After consideration of moving papers and papers submitted in opposition thereof, as well as oral argument of counsel present at the hearing, this court rules as follows.
This case, which involves claims of defamation, frauds, aiding and abetting and conspiracy, clearly constitutes a dispute over the application of the First Amendment to a public debate over matters both academic and professional. The disputant may fairly be described as the opposing camps in a longstanding debate over certain theories in the field of psychology. The speech of which the plaintiff's complain, which occurred in the context of prior litigation and allegedly involved the "fraudulent" addition of the names of certain defendants to documents filed in said prior litigation, would clearly have been protected as comment on a public issue whether or not the statements were made in the contest of legal briefs. The court need not consider whether the privilege of Civil Code 47 (b) extends to an alleged interloper in a legal proceeding.
Plaintiffs have not presented sufficient evidence to establish any reasonable probability of success on any cause of action. In particular Plaintiffs cannot establish deceit with reference to representations made to other parties in the underlying lawsuit. Thus Defendants' Special Motions to Strike each of the causes at action asserted against them, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure 425.16 is granted. However, attorney's fees shall be requested by separation motion.
Dated: JUN 17 1994
Judge of the Superior Court
- JAMES R. LAMBDEN