Greater L.A. Agency on Deafness v. CNN

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 02-05-2014
  • Case #: 12-15807
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge McKeown for the Court; Circuit Judges Wallace and Ikuta
  • Full Text Opinion

For a defendant to successfully move for dismissal under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, the targeted conduct needs to be protected by the defendant’s free speech rights, and then the plaintiff must not have established a probability of prevailing on the merits of their claim.

Greater L.A. Agency on Deafness ("GLAD") filed a lawsuit against Cable News Network ("CNN") in order to obtain equal access for persons who are hearing-impaired by compelling CNN to provide closed captioning for videos posted on CNN’s website under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act and California’s Disabled Persons Act. CNN filed a led a motion to dismiss the lawsuit using California’s anti-SLAPP statute that allows defendants the ability to seek early dismissal of meritless suits that stem from the defendant’s free speech rights, and was denied by a magistrate judge. CNN then filed a timely appeal. The Ninth Circuit held that the lawsuit against CNN did target a form of conduct that is protected by CNN’s free speech rights, further, that GLAD failed in their suit to create a chance of prevailing under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act in that they did not show any intentional discrimination on the part of CNN. The panel deferred their decision on GLAD’s claims arising under the California Disabled Person Act until receiving further guidance from the California Supreme Court. VACATED.

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