Monster Energy Co. v. Schechter, 26 Cal. App. 5th 54 (2018)

The attorneys for two individuals who had sued Monster Energy Company signed and approved as to “content and form” a confidential settlement agreement between the individuals and Monster.  During an interview with a reporter for lawyersandsettlements.com, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys disclosed information that was subject to the confidentiality provision of the settlement agreement.  Monster sued the attorneys for breach of contract and related claims.  The attorneys responded with an anti-SLAPP motion based upon the fact that they were not parties to the settlement agreement.  The trial court disagreed and denied the attorneys’ motion, but the Court of Appeal reversed, holding that the attorneys were not parties to the settlement agreement even though they had signed and approved it as to “content and form.”  The Court noted “it seems easy enough, however, to draft a settlement agreement that explicitly makes the attorneys parties (even if only to the confidentiality provision) and explicitly requires them to sign as such.”  See also Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP v. J-M Mfg. Co., 2018 WL 4137013 (Cal. S. Ct. 2018) (law firm’s advance-waiver of conflicts provision was not effective because the firm failed to disclose a known conflict with a current client).