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Why Bryant Wine’s San Fran lawsuit vs consultant could get SLAPP-ed down

Other articles in this series:

NOTE: This three-part update is based primarily on new court filings and judicial decisions.

 

The accuracy, context and content of these articles are improved because our previous coverage prompted multiple knowledgeable and current winery sources not connected with the litigation to contact Wine Industry Insight (WII) with additional information.

 

All source attributable information is confirmed by court documents or multiple independent sources not connected with the litigation. Wine Industry Insight adheres to the Associated Press rules on anonymous sources


 

The confusing timing and circumstances underpinning Bettina Sulser Bryant’s San Francisco lawsuit against former employee/consultant Lauren Ridenhour may violate California statute that prohibit “SLAPPs” — Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation — according to court filings and current sources familiar with operations of Bryant Family Vineyards.

SLAPP Shot?

Significantly, the actions of the New York attorneys who are defending the Bryant Art Trust  against Ridenhour’s lawsuit have invalidated Sulser Bryant’s foundational claim made in her San Francisco case: namely the allegation that confidential information was revealed by Ridenhour.

 

The odd timing, and now-discredited confidentiality claims in Sulser Bryant’s legal documents —  along with allegations by multiple sources — indicate that the San Francisco lawsuit is a SLAPP, to silence Ridenhour and not about the discredited violation of a confidentiality agreement.

 

According to the San Francisco Bar Association Journal, California SLAPP laws are a “powerful procedural device for litigants facing lawsuits arising from protected petitioning or speech activity.”

 

While SLAPP defenses have most frequently been employed by corporate whistleblowers and journalists, Ridenhour’s attorney has asserted in legal filings that Sulser Bryant’s San Francisco lawsuit is designed to interfere with the wrongful termination lawsuit (petition) that Ridenhour had filed in New York against Sulser  Bryant and her husband Donald L. Bryant, Jr. more than four months earlier.

The rest of this 1,433-word article is available to Wine Executive News Premium Subscribers

Also in this article:

  • Bi-Coastal legal confusion, conflicting motives

  • NY discredits CA — San Francisco Sulser Bryant lawyers object to legal filings that are acceptable to New York Bryant Art Trust lawyers

  • West Coast federal judge so far denies Sulser Bryant’s legal maneuvers to silence Ridenhour

  • Retaliatory language – Competence

  • Untrustworthy? Or too honest?

  • Additional indications that Sulser Bryant’s lawsuit is a SLAPP

  • Next San Francisco action: October 17

Previous WII coverage:

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29 Full Ridenhour and Bryant litigation court documents for premium Wine Executive News Premium

  1. Ridenhour complaint-032219
  2. Ridenhour complaint-Amended-042219
  3. Ridenhour complaint-Amended-Exhibit-042219
  4. Response to defendant srequest for premotion conference-060619
  5. Bryant-V-Ridenhour-Complaint- 073019
  6. Bryant-V-Ridenhour-Complaint-Exhibita-073019
  7. Second amended complaint-Ridenhour-073119
  8. Complaint amended-Exhibita-073119
  9. Complaint amended-Exhibitb-073119
  10. Complaint amended-Exhibitc-073119
  11. Complaint amended-Exhibitd-073119
  12. Complaint amended-Exhibite-073119
  13. Declaration Of Bettina Sulser Bryant In Support Of Plaintiff’s Ex Parte Application For (1) Temporary Restraining Order And (2) Order To Show Cause Regarding Preliminary Injunction-081919
  14. Request For Judicial Notice In Support Of Plaintiff’s Ex Parte Application For (1) Temporary Restraining Order And (2) Order To Show Cause Regarding Preliminary Injunction-081919
  15. Plaintiff’s Ex Parte Application For (1) Temporary Restraining Order And (2) Order To Show Cause Regarding Preliminary Injunction-081919
  16. [Proposed] (1) Temporary Restraining Order And (2) Order To Show Cause Regarding Preliminary Injunction 1322660.1-081919
  17. Declaration Of Keith J. Wesley In Support Of Plaintiff’s Ex Parte Application For (1) Temporary Restraining Order And (2) Order To Show Cause Regarding Preliminary Injunction-081919
  18. Order Re Plaintiff’s Ex Parte Application For Temporary Restraining Order-081920
  19. Defendant-Ridenhour-Memorandum Of Law In Opposition To Plaintiff-Application For A Tro-08/21/19
  20. Judge order-Ex parte application for TRO-082319
  21. Stipulation-On-Confidential-Information-09-03-19
  22. Plaintiff’s-Bryant-Ex-Parte -Application-Etc-091119
  23. Plaintiff ridenhour-Memorandum-Of-Law-In-Opposition-To-Defendantbryant-Motion-To-Dismiss-09/13/19
  24. Second-Amended-Complaint-Exhibits-Ridenhour-Opposition-To-Dismissal-09/13/19
  25. Order-Denying-Plaintiff-Ex-Parte-Application-091319
  26. Declaration-Of-Bettina-Sulser-Bryant-Opposition-To-Defendant-Lauren-Ridenhour-Motion-To-Dismiss-Complaint-09/20/19
  27. Declaration Of Pearl Zuchlewski In Opposition To Plaintiff’s Application For A Tro- 09/20/19
  28. Defendant Ridenhour Reply Memorandum In Support Of Motion To Dismiss The Second Amended Complaint-092719
  29. Defendant-Bryant-Reply Memorandum Of Law In Support Of Motion To Dismiss The Second Amended Complaint-092719