To protect a person's right of petition and free speech, California's anti-SLAPP statute provides that a "cause of action" arising from "any act of that person in furtherance of that person's right of petition or free speech" is subject to a special motion to strike, unless the plaintiff shows a probability that it will prevail on the claim. Previously, California appellate courts took differing approaches to "mixed causes of action" that combine allegations of activity protected by the anti-SLAPP statute with allegations of unprotected activity.
In Baral v. Schnitt, the court of appeal affirmed the denial of an anti-SLAPP motion because the plaintiff had alleged both protected and unprotected activity, and the plaintiff had established a probability of succeeding on the claims based on unprotected activity. The court of appeal concluded that the anti-SLAPP motion must be brought against the entire cause of action, and may not be used in a mixed cause of action to strike only the allegations pertaining to protected activity.
On August 1, 2016, the California Supreme Court reversed, holding that where a mixed cause of action arises from both protected and unprotected activity, an anti-SLAPP motion can be brought to attack those parts of the claim that arise from protected activity. To hold otherwise would only reward plaintiffs who artfully plead claims involving both protected and unprotected activity by allowing them to evade anti-SLAPP motions.