Mendoza v. ADP Screening & Selection Servs., Inc., 182 Cal. App. 4th 1644 (2010)

William Mendoza sued ADP Screening and Selection Services, Inc. (“SASS”) for violations of Penal Code §§ 290.4 and 290.46, the Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act and declaratory relief based upon SASS’s apparent disclosure to a prospective employer of information uncovered during a background check conducted on Mendoza, indicating his status as a registered sex offender listed on the Megan’s Law website. (Mendoza’s complaint implied these facts but did not affirmatively allege them.) In response to Mendoza’s complaint, SASS filed a special motion to strike pursuant to California’s anti-SLAPP statute. The trial court granted SASS’s motion to strike the complaint after concluding the conduct alleged by Mendoza arose in furtherance of SASS’s First Amendment rights of commercial speech on a matter of public interest and that Mendoza could not establish a probability that he would prevail on the merits. The trial court’s decision also included a mandatory award of attorney’s fees in the amount of $42,593.75 in favor of SASS. The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that the anti-SLAPP statute is available to SASS even though it is a commercial enterprise and that providing employee screening reports is a “protected activity” under the statute.