Gordon & Rees founding partner Stuart M. Gordon and partner James K. Holder of San Francisco recently won the complete dismissal of a fraud lawsuit and recovered nearly $17,000 in attorney’s fees on behalf of their clients, a San Francisco real estate law firm and one of its partners, on a motion to strike the complaint under California’s Anti-SLAPP statute.
The lawsuit arose from settlement negotiations in an underlying real estate action brought by the plaintiff, a San Francisco landowner and landlord, before the San Francisco Board of Appeals. The plaintiff in the underlying action challenged various aspects of a proposed real estate construction project, which had been approved by the City of San Francisco. The underlying defendants were represented by a well-regarded San Francisco real estate law firm and one of its partners who were able to able to successfully settle the underlying matter.
Following settlement, the plaintiff sued the opposing parties’ attorneys for fraud alleging that the law firm and one of its partners had deceptively inserted unapproved language into the final settlement agreement causing the plaintiff to lose the primary benefit of the settlement. The law firm and its partner fervently denied the plaintiff’s groundless allegations and retained Gordon & Rees to defend against the fraud claims.
Mr. Gordon and Mr. Holder utilized the Anti-SLAPP statute -- which protects against lawsuits brought to chill the valid exercise of constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition -- to file a motion to dismiss at the outset of the case. Mr. Gordon and Mr. Holder were successful in convincing a San Francisco Superior Court judge that the plaintiff’s lawsuit lacked minimal merit and infringed upon the defendants’ rights of speech and petition; and accordingly, the court ordered the dismissal of the plaintiff’s lawsuit and directed the plaintiff pay attorney’s fees to Gordon & Rees’ client in the amount of $16,851.00.
Gordon & Rees’s clients were extremely pleased with this favorable result on their behalf, which brought this contentious litigation to an early resolution without the stress and expense of protracted discovery and pre-trial proceedings. Mr. Gordon and Mr. Holder were satisfied in having been able to protect the well-respected law firm and its partner’s ability to continue delivering quality legal services, and in being able to prevent the law firm and its partner from suffering any unfair negative publicity.