Defendant’s Public Interest Argument Were Not Totally Devoid Of Merit.
A trial judge can award fees against an unsuccessful defendant if he/she determines that the motion was frivolous or dilatory under CCP § 128.5. A lower court concluded that a defendant’s SLAPP motion, which was denied, fell within the purview of that section, prompting an appeal by the defense in Cal. Alliance of Acupuncture Medicine v. Wang, Case No. B61970 (2d Dist., Div. 7 Dec. 21, 2015) (unpublished). Defendant did well to appeal because the appellate court found that her “public interest” was not totally devoid of merit given the nuances under this SLAPP prong (such that it was an abuse of discretion to assess fees against her). So, the fee award against the defense was reversed although the SLAPP denial was affirmed on the merits challenge.