Is A Statement Of Decision Required On An Order For An Anti-SLAPP Motion?

You might expect that a statement of decision is required on an order for an anti-SLAPP motion. Such a motion involves important interests (Constitutional interests) and is much more involved than your average motion (demurrer, motion to strike). It requires the parties to submit evidence which would be admissible at trial, has the potential to end a case, and such an order is immediately appealable.

Given the above, wouldn’t it seem fair to require a court to issue a statement of decision and explain its reasoning?

Unfortunately, the answer is that a court is NOT required to issue such a statement pursuant to Lien v. Lucky United Properties Investment, Inc. (2008) 163 Cal.App.4th 620.

Lien is a short but well-written decision.

The general rule is that statements of decision are limited to trials. CCP § 632. There are some exceptions, however, such as proceedings involving custody of a minor and " . . . a motion to amend judgment to add a judgment debtor on an alter ego theory."

In determining whether an exception to the rule may lie:

" . . courts balance (1) the importance of the issues at stake in the proceeding, including the significance of the rights affected and the magnitude of the potential adverse effect on those rights; and (2) whether appellate review can be effectively accomplished even in the absence of express findings."

(Citations omitted).

The decision acknowledged that anti-SLAPP motions involved important issues, however, it also found that a court does not "try" issues of fact because a court does not weight the evidence in an anti-SLAPP motion.

Further, the court determined that "the absence of factual findings has not precluded effective [appellate] review."

Therefore, an exception to section 632 is not warranted for anti-SLAPP motions and a statement of decision is not required.

Is this result fair? Do you believe courts should be required to explain their reasoning in decisions involving an anti-SLAPP motion? Discuss.

 

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