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Supreme Court of California
March 3, 2005, Filed
[**962] BROWN, J.—CA(1)(1) ] Under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, subdivision (b)(1), 1 a defendant may move to strike any cause of action “arising from any act … in furtherance of the person's right of petition or free speech under the United States or California Constitution in connection [****3] with a public issue … .” If the plaintiff cannot demonstrate a “probability” of prevailing on that cause of action (§ 425.16, subd. (b)(1)), then the trial court must strike the cause of action and award the defendant attorney's fees and costs (§ 425.16, subd. (c)). In 1999, the Legislature made the denial of a special motion to strike under section 425.16 appealable. We now determine whether the perfecting of an appeal from the denial of a special motion to strike automatically stays all further trial court proceedings on the merits upon the causes of action affected by the motion. We conclude that it does.
Plaintiffs and respondents Varian Medical Systems, Inc. (Varian Medical) and Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates, Inc. (Varian Semiconductor) are publicly traded companies. Varian Medical manufactures a variety of medical products, and Varian Semiconductor manufactures [****4] equipment for use in the semiconductor chip manufacturing process. For purposes of this action, Varian Medical and Varian Semiconductor are the successors in interest to the [*187] original plaintiff, Varian Associates, Inc. (Varian Associates). 2 At the time of trial, plaintiff and respondent George Zdasiuk was a vice-president of Varian Medical, and plaintiff and respondent Susan [**963] Felch was a director at a Varian Semiconductor research center.
Defendants and appellants Michelangelo Delfino and Mary Day are former employees of Varian Associates. Zdasiuk fired Delfino in October 1998 for harassing Felch and other coworkers. Two months later, Day resigned in sympathy.
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35 Cal. 4th 180 *; 106 P.3d 958 **; 25 Cal. Rptr. 3d 298 ***; 2005 Cal. LEXIS 2308 ****; 2005 Cal. Daily Op. Service 1871; 33 Media L. Rep. 1396
VARIAN MEDICAL SYSTEMS, INC., et al., Plaintiffs and Respondents, v. MICHELANGELO DELFINO et al., Defendants and Appellants.
Subsequent History: Time for Granting or Denying Rehearing Extended Varian Medical Systems v. Delfino, 2005 Cal. LEXIS 3669 (Cal., Mar. 28, 2005)
Prior History: [****1] Superior Court of Santa Clara County, No. CV780187, Jack Komar, Judge. Court of Appeal, Sixth District, No. H024214.
Varian Medical Systems, Inc. v. Delfino, 113 Cal. App. 4th 273, 6 Cal. Rptr. 3d 325, 2003 Cal. App. LEXIS 1692 (Cal. App. 6th Dist., 2003)
Disposition: Judgment reversed with instructions to remand for a new trial.
trial court, anti-SLAPP, proceedings, merits, trial court proceedings, pending appeal, cause of action, special motion, automatically, embraced, cases, reversal, matters, court of appeals, motions, stays, void, defendants', prevailing, lawsuit, lack subject matter jurisdiction, automatic reversal, probability, appeals, fundamental sense, appellate court, automatic stay, subject matter, harmless, courts
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