California Supreme Court Decides Any Other Interpretation Would Gut SLAPP Policies.
The California Supreme Court, in Barry v. State Bar of California, Case No. S214058 (Cal. Supreme Court Jan. 5, 2017), confronted the issue of whether a prevailing defendant (the State Bar) was entitled to an award of attorney's fees and costs when the primary winning ground under the SLAPP motion was lack of subject matter jurisdiction, namely, the trial court had no jurisdiction but jurisdiction rested with the California Supreme Court because it was a State Bar issue.
The answer was "yes," affirming the trial court conclusion on the issue but reversing the appellate court's contrary perspective on the issue.
Our state supreme court decided that any other result would gut SLAPP early-on determinations and attendant fee recoveries, especially given that analogous sanctions decisions had expressed the view that lack of subject matter jurisdiction was a collateral, non-merits determination of importance which would allow for imposition of fees/costs.
This 7-0 decision was authored by Justice Kruger.