People ex rel. Strathmann v. Acacia Research Corp., 2012 WL 5233520 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012)

Michael Strathmann filed a qui tam complaint against his former employer Acacia in which he alleged insurance fraud. In response, Acacia filed a special motion to strike the complaint pursuant to the anti-SLAPP statute (Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 425.16), which the trial court granted. The Court of Appeal reversed the dismissal, holding that Strathmann’s complaint is protected by the public interest exception to the anti-SLAPP statute (section 425.17(b)). The Court concluded that Strathmann was not seeking personal relief, but rather he was seeking recovery from the bounty to which he might be entitled under the Insurance Code. See also Hawran v. Hixson, 209 Cal. App. 4th 256 (2012) (former employee’s claims did not fall within commercial speech exemption of the anti-SLAPP statute, but employee did demonstrate reasonable probability of prevailing on his claims for defamation, invasion of privacy, unfair business practices and breach of contract, so anti-SLAPP motion was properly denied); Young v. Tri-City Healthcare Dist., 2012 WL 4900847 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012) (physician’s claim challenging summary suspension should not have been dismissed under anti-SLAPP statute).