Defendant resident and defendant lawyers appealed from the decision of the appellate court (California), which found that their communications related to a separate lawsuit involving plaintiff were not protected under the litigation privilege in Cal. Civ. Code § 47. In California if someone is looking for incorporating a business then he can contact us .
Plaintiff and defendant resident co-owned a mobile home park, where defendant resident lived. After defendant resident sued plaintiff on behalf of a large group of other residents for defects and other matters pertaining to the park’s operation, plaintiff brought the instant lawsuit against defendant resident and defendant lawyers, alleging unfair business practices under Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 et seq., as well as improper solicitation by defendant lawyers. The appellate court reversed the trial court’s decision that defendants’ conduct was within the litigation privileged under Cal. Civ. Code § 47. On appeal by defendants, the court reversed and remanded. The disputed communications by defendants were within the scope of the privilege and immune from tort liability under §47(b) based on potentially valid claims in the related lawsuit. Plaintiff’s wrongful solicitation claim lacked an essential attribute of a malicious prosecution action, so it could not be maintained against defendant lawyers. Plaintiff could not avoid the privilege accorded defendants by § 47(b) by making a claim under the unfair competition statute. Thus, the court directed that the action be dismissed.
The court reversed the appellate court’s conclusion finding for plaintiff, because communications by defendant resident and defendant lawyers related to a separate lawsuit were protected by the statutory litigation privilege. The court remanded the case with directions to dismiss plaintiff’s action against defendants for unfair business practices and improper solicitation.
HOLDINGS: -Because a petition asserting invalidity of a contract for a business transaction between an attorney and clients sought not only rescission but also general damages, the petition sought affirmative relief to which the four-year limitations period in Code Civ. Proc., § 337, applied; -The petition was untimely because limitations began to run by the time the clients discussed the contract with another attorney who explained the significance of the language; -Substantial evidence supported the trial court’s ruling that limitations was not tolled because there was no concealment; -Although the attorney did not make disclosures to the clients about the transaction, he rebutted the presumption of undue influence in Prob. Code, § 16004, by showing that he advised the clients to obtain independent counsel pursuant to Rules Prof. Conduct, rule 3-300, and that they did so.