What is a SLAPPback Action?

Woman holding mug with the word stress

I am often asked to pursue SLAPPback actions, and find that the requests usually arise from a misunderstanding of the basis for such an action. I will explain here the basics of a SLAPPback action and why, at least in my practice, the circumstances that would justify a SLAPPback seldom arise.

What is a SLAPPback Action?

SLAPPback actions are created and governed by Code of Civil Procedure section 425.18. Section 425.18(b)(1) defines SLAPPback:

“SLAPPback” means any cause of action for malicious prosecution or abuse of process arising from the filing or maintenance of a prior cause of action that has been dismissed pursuant to a special motion to strike under Section 425.16.

That simple definition should clear up much of the confusion. A SLAPPback is simply a malicious prosecution action brought by a defendant who successfully brought an anti-SLAPP motion that resulted in a dismissal of the original action. It could also take the form of an abuse of process action, but that will seldom be the case, as I will explain below.

Note also that a SLAPPback is an entirely new lawsuit. The defendant, having successfully extracted himself from legal proceedings by way of a successful anti-SLAPP motion, jumps right back in by filing a malicious prosecution action. I sometimes get requests to bring a “SLAPPback motion,” but as you can see there is no such beast.

Why are SLAPPback actions so rare?

Conceptually, every successful anti-SLAPP motion could be followed by a SLAPPback action. By definition, if an action is dismissed on the basis of an anti-SLAPP motion, then it had no merit. To survive an anti-SLAPP motion the plaintiff need only show that his claim has “minimal merit.” If it could not even meet that standard, then it almost certainly was brought without probable cause; one of the necessary elements of a malicious prosecution action.  Read the rest of this entry »

Aaron Morris, Attorney
Aaron Morris
Morris & Stone, LLP

Orchard Technology Park
11 Orchard Road, Suite 106
Lake Forest, CA 92630

(714) 954-0700

Email Aaron Morris
Information Helpful?
Buy me coffee
SLAPP Law Podcast

Click "Amazon Music" for all episodes of California SLAPP Law Podcast


NOTICE PURSUANT TO BUSINESS & PROFESSIONS CODE SECTION 6158.3: The outcome of any case will depend on the facts specific to that case. Nothing contained in any portion of this web site should be taken as a representation of how your particular case would be concluded, or even that a case with similar facts will have a similar result. The result of any case discussed herein was dependent on the facts of that case, and the results will differ if based on different facts.

This site seeks to present legal issues in a hopefully entertaining manner. Hyperbolic language should not be taken literally. For example, if I refer to myself as the “Sultan of SLAPP” or the “Pharaoh of Free Speech,” it should not be assumed that I am actually a Sultan or a Pharaoh.

Factual summaries are entirely accurate in the sense of establishing the legal scenario, but are changed as necessary to protect the privacy of the clients.