Makaeff v. Trump University

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 11-27-2013
  • Case #: 11-55016
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Chief Judge Kozinski, Circuit Judges Wardlaw and Paez
  • Full Text Opinion

California’s Anti-SLAPP statutes, which provide criteria for pre-trial dismissal of a defamation claim, do not “collide” with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12 and 56; no inter-circuit split has emerged on this issue.

The petition for rehearing en banc arose out of Tara Makaeff’s deceptive business practices suit against Trump University (“Trump”). Trump counterclaimed, accusing Makaeff of defamation. Makaeff moved to strike the defamation claim based on California’s anti-SLAPP statutes, which allow a defamation claim to be stricken if the defendant can demonstrate that the claim was a “strategic suit against public participation.” The proponent judges for the petition en banc argued that a hearing en banc was required because an inter-circuit split had emerged as to whether or not the anti-SLAPP statutes had impermissibly supplemented the pre-trial dismissal standards of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”). The majority of the full panel, however, voted to deny the petition, agreeing that there was no inter-circuit split on the issue of the collision of anti-SLAPP statutes (allowing a defamation suit to be dismissed pre-trial) and FRCP’s pre-trial dismissal standards. The anti-SLAPP statute and the FRCP “can exist side-by-side, each controlling its own intended sphere of coverage without conflict.” Petition for Rehearing En Banc DENIED.

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