When parties settle a case and the settlement contains a confidentiality agreement, a subsequent lawsuit for breach of that confidentiality agreement does not come within the purview of California’s anti-SLAPP statute. In an unpublished opinion on June 6, the California Court of Appeal, Second District, the Court considered lawsuits and confidential settlements stemming from comments about gay marriage by former Miss California Carrie Prejean. Prejean came under intense media scrutiny following those comments and she filed a lawsuit. The parties participated in a mediation where reportedly Prejean was shown compromising video and photographs of herself. That lawsuit settled pursuant to a written settlement agreement including a confidentiality provision binding Prejean, her attorney Charles S. LiMandri and the other attorneys involved in the case. All of the parties to the settlement, agreed to keep the existence of the Carrie Prejean video and photos confidential.
The day after the settlement, TMZ reported the details of the settlement and the existence of the video. In the ensuing lawsuit and appeals, the Court of Appeal was called on to decide whether California’s anti-SLAPP law protects statements made following the settlement. The Court held:
The anti-SLAPP statute affords no protection to the defendant who breaches a contract limiting his right to speak publicly on matters of public interest.