California Court of Appeals, Second District, Fifth Division
from an order of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County,
No. BC581130 Terry A. Green, Judge. Affirmed.
A. Fink & Associates, Keith A. Fink and Olaf J. Muller
for Plaintiff and Appellant.
Munger, Tolles & Olson, Mark B. Helm and John F. Muller
for Defendants and Respondents.
and appellant Dov Charney appeals the trial court's order
granting an anti-SLAPP motion (Code Civ. Proc., §
425.16) filed by defendants and respondents
Standard General, L.P., Standard General Master Fund L.P.,
and P. Standard General LTD.
was the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of
American Apparel, Inc. (American Apparel). Charney's
employment was ultimately terminated following an
investigation into allegations that he engaged in various
types of misconduct. Standard General then issued a press
release which read as follows:
we have stated previously, our objective is to help American
Apparel grow and succeed. We supported the independent,
third-party and very thorough investigation into the
allegations against Mr. Charney, and respect the Board of
Directors' decision to terminate him based on the results
of that investigation.”
filed a lawsuit alleging several causes of action rooted in
his claim that the press release contained false and
defamatory information about him. Standard General's
anti-SLAPP motion was successful, prompting this appeal by
Charney. We hold Charney did not satisfy his burden of
showing there was a minimal chance his claims would succeed
at trial and, for that reason, affirm the trial court's
order granting the anti-SLAPP motion.
Charney alleged the press release contained
“falsehoods, exaggerations and/or inaccuracies about
[him]... namely that he was terminated from American
Apparel's employment for ‘cause' based
on the results of an ‘independent'
‘investigation' conducted by a
‘third party.'” (Italics
claimed the statements “portrayed [him] as someone
found liable and/or guilty by
‘independent' and ‘third
party' investigators of committing financial
malfeasance and illegal sexual harassment and discrimination
sufficient to terminate his employment for
‘cause.'” (Italics added.) Charney
maintained the press release charged him with “engaging
in illegal and criminal misconduct, clearly exposed [him] to
hatred, contempt, ridicule, and obloquy, and charge[d] [him]
with improper and immoral conduct.”
alleged that Standard General committed this act with
knowledge of the falsity or defamatory nature of the
statements or with reckless disregard for whether they were
false and defamatory.
Light. Charney realleged the press release contained
falsehoods and claimed these statements were repeated
throughout media outlets causing him to be “placed...
in a false light in the public eye.” He again claimed
Standard General acted with knowledge of, or reckless
disregard for, the false and defamatory nature of the
Interference With Actual Economic Relations. Charney
alleged Standard General made the aforementioned false and
defamatory statements with the intent to disrupt his ongoing
negotiations to obtain third party assistance to regain
control of American Apparel.
Interference With Prospective Economic Relations.
Charney claimed he had negotiated with others to obtain
financing to purchase shares of American Apparel and
reinstall himself as CEO. He also maintained he had
negotiated with others to “potentially work for other
clothing companies, to engage in passive investments within
the apparel industry, to start another competing clothing
company, and to obtain financing for the same.” Charney
alleged Standard General made the false and defamatory
statements with the intent to “destroy, hinder and/or
otherwise stop” these business efforts.
Business Acts/False Advertising (Bus. & Prof. Code,
§ 17200 et. seq.). Charney sought declaratory and
injunctive relief, alleging Standard General would continue
to republish their false and defamatory statements causing