- Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
- Area(s) of Law: Civil Law
- Date Filed: 03-26-2014
- Case #: A149667
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Schuman, S.J., for the Court; Duncan, P.J.; & Wollheim, J.
- Full Text Opinion
Clackamas River Water (CRW) board member (Member) appealed the trial court's judgment that granted CRW injunctive relief by prohibiting Member from using, disseminating, or publishing any records obtained by Member from CRW under a public records request, even though the trial court dismissed CRW's action based on the anti-SLAPP statute. Member received several CD's containing emails from CRW. CRW sought a declaration to require Member to return the CD's so CRW could determine which of the contents were exempt from public disclosure. The anti-SLAPP statute permits a defendant in a civil case to file a "special motion to strike" a plaintiff's claim unless the plaintiff can establish at a preliminary hearing "a probability that the plaintiff will prevail on the claim." Because CRW did not have adequate evidence to establish their claim, the trial court found it was an appropriate use of the anti-SLAPP statute. However, because CRW had no alternative means of relief, the trial court included in their order that the Member was prohibited from using, disseminating, or publishing any of the CD's contents . The anti-SLAPP statute does not allow a court to grant a defendant's special motion to strike but then "proceed to trial." For that reason, the court also erred in reaching the merits of CRW's underlying complaint after granting Member's motion to strike. Reversed and remanded.