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Noori v. City of Davis

November 22, 2010

MOSTAFA NOORI, SELAIMAN NOORI, OMAR ATEBAR, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CITY OF DAVIS; CITY OF DAVIS POLICE DEPARTMENT; CITY OF DAVIS POLICE DETECTIVE JEFF BEASLEY; CITY OF DAVIS POLICE DETECTIVE SCOTT SMITH; CITY OF DAVIS DETECTIVE MIKE MOORE, BRITTANY CORRALES; SANDEEP DHARIWAL, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge: Hon. John A. Mendez

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT SANDEEP DHARIWAL'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES

Date: October 20, 2010

The Motion for Attorneys' Fees of Defendant Sandeep Dhariwal came on regularly for hearing on October 20, 2010 at 9:30 a.m., in Courtroom 6, the Honorable John A. Mendez, Judge, presiding. Mark Goldowitz, California Anti-SLAPP Project, appeared on behalf of Defendant and Moving Party Sandeep Dhariwal; Wazhma Mojaddidi appeared on behalf of Plaintiffs Mostafa Noori, Selaiman Noori, and Omar Atebar. Kathryn K. Druliner attempted to make a "special appearance" on behalf of the Plaintiffs; however, the Court found that she had no standing to appear in this case, as Ms. Druliner admitted that she was not the attorney of record for any of the Plaintiffs. There were no other appearances.

The instant motion arises from Defendant's special motion to strike Plaintiffs' complaint pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure (C.C.P.) § 425.16. On January 25, 2010, Plaintiffs Mostafa Noori, Selaiman Noori, and Omar Atebar filed a Complaint against the Defendants, City of Davis, City of Davis Police Department, certain detectives, Brittany Corrales, and Sandeep Dhariwal, alleging six causes of action, for false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, civil conspiracy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. (Docket Report, Item 1.) In response, on June 10, 2010, Defendant Sandeep Dhariwal filed a Special Motion to Strike pursuant to California's Anti-SLAPP statute, C.C.P. § 425.16. (Docket Report, Item 16.) The motion was set to be heard on August 18, 2010. Plaintiffs did not file an opposition to the motion. Instead, on August 4, 2010, while Defendant's Special Motion to Strike was pending, Plaintiffs filed a voluntary dismissal of their Complaint. (Docket Report, Item 22.)

On August 18, 2010, Defendant Sandeep Dhariwal filed a Motion for Attorneys' Fees pursuant to C.C.P. § 425.16(c)(1) as the prevailing party.

The Court, having read and reviewed the papers filed in support of and in opposition to the motion, specifically including, but not limited to, all objections, having heard the argument of counsel and the matter having been submitted, finds and orders as follows:

Defendant Sandeep Dhariwal has met the burden of proving that the allegations in Plaintiffs' complaint concerning her conduct relate to protected conduct, specifically her right to petition and free speech under the United States and California Constitutions in connection with a public issue, as defined by C.C.P. § 425.16(b)(1).

Since Defendant met her burden of proving that Plaintiffs' Complaint arises from protected activity under C.C.P. § 425.16(b)(1), the burden shifted to the Plaintiffs to show by competent and admissible evidence that there was a probability that the Plaintiffs would prevail on their causes of action against Defendant Sandeep Dhariwal. The Court having reviewed the Declarations of Wazhma Mojaddidi, Esq. and the Declaration of Dain Weiner, Esq., finds that Plaintiffs failed to meet their burden of showing by competent and admissible evidence that there was a probability they would prevail on any of the causes of action against Defendant Sandeep Dhariwal. The Plaintiffs having failed to meet their burden, the Court finds that the Defendant's special motion to strike pursuant to C.C.P. § 425.16 was well taken and the Complaint would have been stricken as to Defendant Sandeep Dhariwal. Therefore, Defendant Sandeep Dhariwal is entitled to attorneys' fees pursuant to C.C.P. § 425.16(c).

THE COURT ORDERS AS FOLLOWS: Defendant Sandeep Dhariwal's Motion for Attorneys' Fees is granted. Defendant Dhariwal is awarded $12,320 in attorneys' fees.

Hon. John A. Mendez United States District Judge

PROOF OF SERVICE

The undersigned hereby states under the penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California:

I am employed in Alameda County; I am over the age of eighteen and not a party to the within cause; and my business address is 2903 Sacramento ...


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