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S.A. v. Maiden

California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, First Division

August 21, 2014

S.A., Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
JAN MAIDEN et al., Defendants and Respondents.

[As Modification on September 11, 2014.]

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of San Diego County No. 37-2012-00098497-CU-PO-CTL, Ronald L. Styn, Judge.

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COUNSEL

S.A., in pro. per., for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Klinedinst, Heather L. Rosing and Daniel S. Agle for Defendant and Respondent Jan Maiden.

OPINION

McDONALD, J.

Plaintiff S.A. appeals a judgment entered in favor of defendants Jan Maiden and Does 1 through 50 (together Maiden), after the trial court granted her Code of Civil Procedure[1] section 425.16 anti-SLAPP[2]

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motion to strike his complaint alleging causes of action against Maiden for malicious prosecution, abuse of process, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. On appeal, he contends the trial court erred by granting Maiden's anti-SLAPP motions because he established there was a probability he would prevail on his causes of action. [3]

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND [4]

In 2002, N.A. and S.A. were married in India and soon thereafter moved to the United States. In 2005, they had a daughter, S. S.A. engaged in a pattern of physical and emotional abuse of N.A. that escalated during the course of their marriage.

On January 18, 2009, the day after an abusive incident, N.A. informed her family in India that she had decided to separate from S.A. When N.A. arrived home, S.A. was angry at her for informing her family about her decision. S.A. yelled at her, touched her breasts, and tried to unfasten her bra. N.A. screamed and told him to stop, which he did after first pushing her onto the bed. N.A. called police because she believed she would need their assistance to leave the home safely. The police arrived, questioned both of them, and then arrested S.A. N.A. bailed him out of jail the following day. They reconciled after he promised to be a better husband and father.

In 2010, during N.A.'s recovery period following a gynecological procedure, S.A. continued to force her to have sex with him. He also threatened that he would not file her work visa extension if she did not have sex with him.

In April 2010, before N.A. and S.A. left on a trip to India, S.A. cancelled S.'s school enrollment against N.A.'s wishes. Shortly before leaving for the airport, he gave N.A. an envelope filled with papers and told her it contained all of their immigration documents. After arriving in India, S.A. left with a man whom he claimed was a friend. N.A. and S. stayed with N.A.'s parents for the entire trip. A few days later, N.A. began receiving abusive telephone calls and e-mails from S.A., who insisted she meet him alone to sign divorce papers his attorney had prepared. N.A. then checked the envelope given her by S.A. and found it did not contain any of her immigration documents. After N.A. refused to meet S.A. alone, he used

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increasingly abrasive language toward her. In one message to her, he stated: "My primary motive is to ruin your life." At about the same time, N.A. learned that S.A. had transferred all of the money from their joint bank account to his personal account.

Domestic violence restraining orders.

In June 2010, after eventually obtaining alternate travel documents, N.A. was able to return to the United States. Fearing future abuse, N.A. filed a request for a domestic violence restraining order against S.A. in the San Diego County Superior Court. After obtaining an initial temporary restraining order from the court, N.A. retained attorney Jan Maiden to represent her in her requests for subsequent restraining orders. The court issued a series of amended temporary restraining orders and ultimately set a June 6, 2011, hearing date for N.A.'s request for a permanent restraining order.

At the June 6, 2011, hearing, N.A. withdrew her request for a permanent restraining order against S.A. and the trial court accepted her voluntary dismissal of that request. Because N.A. had moved to Orange County and filed for legal separation, child custody, and child and spousal support in the Orange County Superior Court, she no longer believed a permanent restraining order against S.A. was necessary.

On June 29, 2011, S.A. filed an order to show cause (OSC) why he should not be awarded attorney fees and costs as sanctions against N.A. for her extensions of the temporary restraining order, which was based on false allegations, and her subsequent dismissal of her request for a permanent restraining order. The trial court granted the motion, finding S.A. was the prevailing party, and awarded him $3, 500 in attorney fees and costs.

Complaint.

On June 6, 2012, S.A. filed the instant complaint against N.A. and Maiden, alleging causes of action for malicious prosecution, abuse of process, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He alleged N.A. and Maiden, maliciously and without probable cause, initiated and ...


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