Mandatory Attorneys’ Fees To Prevailing anti-SLAPP Defendants

California’s anti-SLAPP statute (CCP § 425.16(c)) provides that a "prevailing defendant on a special motion to strike shall be entitled to recover his or her attorney’s fees and costs. The fee award is not discretionary–it is mandatory–and the fees can be very significant.

The purpose behind this rule is to discourage strategic lawsuits against public participation by imposing the litigation costs on the plaintiff.

In determining the amount of fees awardable to the prevailing defendant, the court will apply something called the "lodestar" approach. The lodestar is the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate prevailing in the community for similar work. The court may take into consideration other facts in setting the lodestar, e.g., the complexity of the case, the skill of counsel in defending the case, the success achieved, and other such factors.

At the end of the day, it is important to understand that this area of law is highly specialized and that it requires experience. You will need an attorney who has experience arguing these types of motions in order to persuade the court of the reasonableness or the unreasonableness (depending on which side you’re on) of the fees requested.

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The Author: Adrianos Facchetti is a Defamation Lawyer located in Los Angeles, California. He practices in the areas of defamation, slander, and libel law. He also has successfully brought and opposed anti-SLAPP motions on behalf of his clients.

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