Dartmouth’s Revocation of Plaintiff’s Admission: Not a Matter of Public Interest

From Doe v. Ledor, decided today by the California Court of Appeal, in an opinion by Justice Tracie Brown, joined by Justice Jon Streeter and Judge Joni Hiramoto:

The Ledors moved to have the case dismissed at the outset, using California’s “anti-SLAPP” statute, which provides for prompt dismissal (and other remedies, such as a requirement that plaintiff pay defendants’ attorney fees) for legally meritless cases. The statute is limited, in relevant part, to cases brought based on defendants’ speech that “contribute[d] to or further[ed] the public conversation on an issue of public interest,” and the court concluded that Gina’s speech didn’t qualify:

The court also concluded that a separate provision of the California anti-SLAPP statute, which applies on “any written or oral statement or writing made in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a legislative, executive, or judicial body, or any other official proceeding authorized by law” (without any “public interest” limitation) didn’t apply here, because the provision is limited to statements related to pending matters and not ones that had already been concluded (such as the school election hacking investigation in this case).

For a story that relates to a 2019 Berkeley High School election hacking claim, see here; naturally, I can’t speak to whether the story was accurate, and whether defendants’ assertions were accurate in light of that. Note also that the lower court allowed the case to proceed pseudonymously before the 2022 California Court of Appeal decision that made clear that pseudonymous litigation is highly disfavored in California courts.

Mario A. Moya and Rebecca Hoberg (Moya Law Firm) represent Doe.