Ampex Corp. v. Cargle, 128 Cal. App. 4th 1569 (2005)

Ampex Corporation and its president and chairman of the board, Edward J. Bramson, sued an anonymous poster to an Internet message board (Scott Cargle, a former employee of iNEXTV, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ampex) for defamation after Cargle posted messages critical of Ampex and Bramson. Cargle responded to the defamation action with a motion to strike the complaint under California’s anti-SLAPP statute. Upon learning Cargle’s identity, Ampex and Bramson dismissed their complaint, and the trial court then declined to rule on Cargle’s anti-SLAPP motion. The Court of Appeal reversed, holding that Cargle had met his burden to show that he had made a statement in a public forum in connection with an issue of public interest. Further, Ampex and Bramson had failed to demonstrate a probability that they would prevail on the merits. Accordingly, Cargle was entitled to recover his costs and attorneys’ fees. See also Gallant v. City of Carson, 128 Cal. App. 4th 705 (2005) (former employee’s defamation action against city and two employees who said she was “incompetent” and “had done something illegal” should not have been stricken in response to an anti-SLAPP motion).