New York, NY asked in Employment Law, Personal Injury, Business Law and Civil Litigation for California

Q: Anti-Slapp filing deadline and attorneys' fee demand

My employer filed Anti-SLAPP motion 68 days after I filed my complaint against them, and it was partially granted. My attorney didn't raise that late filing issue in their opposition to the special motion. Now I am facing a substantial attorneys' fee demand.

Can I leverage the late filing in my opposition to the legal fees demand?

3 Lawyer Answers
Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen
  • Westminster, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The legal fees award is owed to the employer/defendant. The leverage you have, if any, is against your attorney. The employer/defendant will not care one bit about your arguments against your attorney. So, no, that does not seem to be something you can use as leverage to negotiate the attorney fee award.

Can you try to force your attorney to pay part or all of the attorney fee award? That will depend on the strength of any malpractice claim you might have against that attorney. It would be wise for you to seek out a consultation with an attorney malpractice attorney to determine if you have a meritorious and valuable claim against the attorney.

Good luck to you.

Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman
  • Mill Valley, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The anti-SLAPP filing deadline is not 60 days from filing the Complaint, it is 60 days from service of the Complaint.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, an anti-SLAPP motion must be filed within 60 days of the service of the complaint, unless the court extends this deadline for good cause (Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16(f)). If your employer filed the anti-SLAPP motion 68 days after you filed your complaint, it appears they missed the statutory deadline.

However, if your attorney did not raise the issue of the late filing in the opposition to the anti-SLAPP motion, the court may consider this argument waived. Generally, arguments not raised in the initial opposition are considered waived and cannot be used later in the proceedings.

That being said, you might still be able to argue against the attorneys' fees demand on other grounds, such as:

1. Reasonableness of the fees: You can argue that the attorneys' fees being requested are excessive or unreasonable based on the work performed.

2. Partial success: If the anti-SLAPP motion was only partially granted, you may argue that the attorneys' fees should be reduced to account for the partial success.

It's essential to consult with your attorney about the best strategy for opposing the attorneys' fees demand. They will be able to provide you with more specific advice based on the details of your case and the applicable law. If you believe your attorney's representation was inadequate, you might consider seeking a second opinion from another attorney who specializes in this area of law.

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