The vast majority of defamation appeals are taken after a trial court has granted a special motion to strike, also known as an anti-SLAPP motion. Most of these appeals are affirmed. In other words, the appeals are unsuccessful.
And while most appeals (other than defamation) are unsuccessful, losing an appeal in the defamation context can be particularly costly.
The reason is attorney fees.
Section 425.16 of the California Code of Civil Procedure (the so-called "anti-SLAPP statute") provides that "a prevailing defendant on a special motion to strike shall be entitled to recover his or her attorney’s fees and costs." This includes fees and costs incurred in defending an appeal of an order granting a special motion to strike.
This is effectively a double whammy.
The defendant is entitled to attorneys fees expended in bringing the motion in the trial court AND defending the losing appeal. You get hit twice.
And you might be thinking, but how much can this really cost me?
Well, I’ve seen fee awards ranging anywhere between $15,000 and $30,000, and even more in some instances. It is very expensive.
So I ask you again . . . Are you sure you want to file an appeal?