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PSPS Power

Full statement from Mabray attorney

The following is a direct quote from Paul Mabray’s attorney Rachel Matteo-Boehm. The following is a direct quote from an email, reproduced by Ms. Matteo-Boehm’s permission.


“The court granted Paul’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in full, both as to the 2017 commentary (on statute of limitations grounds) and the 2019 Twitter tweet (on grounds the tweet did not contain any actionable statements of fact as to either plaintiff that could be deemed “false” for purposes of a defamation claim – in other words, they were protected non-factual opinion), but gave Plaintiffs leave to amend their complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), which provides that leave to amend should be granted as a matter of course. However, Judge Ryu specifically noted in so ruling that “it seems doubtful that the issues identified in this order can be addressed through amendment.


“This is a victory for Paul, and not just for him, but for all people who engage in critical commentary over the Internet.  This is the latest in a string of decisions to find that linking back to previously-published content does not republish the content for statute of limitations purposes.  In addition, this decision confirms the broad protection, under the First Amendment, for expressions of opinion. The court agreed that the Tweet at issue in this case was non actionable, protected opinion, as we had argued it was.   On the merits of the case, the court ruled wholly for Paul, finding that Plaintiffs’ complaint against him failed to state a legally-cognizable claim for relief against Paul.


“We continue to believe both the tweet and commentary, which concern important issues of transparency in the wine industry, bear on matters of public interest that fall squarely within the scope of California’s anti-SLAPP statute, and that Paul’s anti-SLAPP motion should have been granted along with the motion for judgment on the pleadings.  I would note that due to the nature of the court’s analysis, the court did not rule on the issue of whether the commentary concerned an issue of public interest, but left open the possibility that it might have reached a different conclusion as to the commentary than it did as to the tweet (see page 16 of the decision).  Nevertheless, we are very gratified by the overall result, which as noted is a total win on the merits.”