Google Search Results Can Be Used to Show Public Interest Under Prong One of the SLAPP Statute

Under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, a defendant must meet its threshold burden to show that plaintiff’s cause of action arises from protected activity. One of the ways to do this is to demonstrate that the protected activity involves a matter of public interest, generally speaking. In cases involving alleged defamatory consumer reviews, one of the challenges a defendant must meet is to show that the issue is of interest to a significant number of people–not merely a private dispute involving parochial matters. One way to do this is to perform a Google search of the purported public issue involved. For example, if you do a Google search for "Lakers" it returns about 102,000,000 results. So obviously, this is a matter of great interest. I have done this in several cases and it has proven to be very effective. In fact, recently, in a published anti-SLAPP decision, the Court of Appeal relied upon such evidence in determining whether the disputed matter involved a public issue. In short: Google search results can be used to show a matter of public interest.

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