Cases & Deals

Major bank client wins anti-SLAPP motion

Client(s) Major bank client

The Santa Clara County Superior Court granted an anti-SLAPP motion on behalf of a major bank client of Jones Day. The order dismissed claims that sought to divest the bank of a nearly $200 million security interest.

The dispute originates from a 2007 loan to develop a multi-acre, mixed-use development known as the "Sunnyvale Town Center." The borrowers defaulted on the loan in 2009, the Court appointed a receiver to manage the Sunnyvale Town Center, and the bank executed agreements with the borrowers providing for the orderly sale of the property. After the receiver had obtained Court authorization to market and sell the Sunnyvale Town Center and conducted an extensive marketing effort, the minority member of the borrowers (ostensibly acting on their behalf) filed a cross-complaint against the bank, the receiver, and the majority member of the borrowers.

Jones Day filed an anti-SLAPP motion on the basis that the eleven-count cross complaint (which sought to void the bank's $189 million security interest in the Sunnyvale Town Center and also stated tort claims), constituted a strategic lawsuit against public participation. The Court granted the motion and dismissed the claims against the bank, concluding that the cross-complaint arose from the bank's protected litigation activity and that cross-complainants were unlikely to prevail on their claims.

This victory comes on the heels of Jones Day's successful opposition to the cross-complainants' request for a temporary restraining order on the eve of a non-judicial foreclosure sale of the Sunnyvale Town Center. One day before the foreclosure sale was to occur, the minority member of the borrowers sought to enjoin the sale. On behalf of the bank, Jones Day argued that the parties seeking the TRO did not have standing, the challenges were meritless, and that damages were an adequate remedy. The Court sided with the bank and denied the TRO, allowing the foreclosure sale to proceed as noticed.