Stanley Wilson, a news producer who claims to have suffered racial discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination and defamation by CNN, achieved a significant victory last week when the Court of Appeal overturned and denied the news network’s request for an anti-SLAPP statute.
Attorneys Carney Shegerian of Shegerian & Associates and Lisa Maki, Jill McDonell and Jennifer Ostertag of the Law Offices of Lisa L. Maki, teamed to represent Wilson and successfully convinced the Court of Appeal of the State of California to reverse an earlier decision on the matter.
The trial court had initially granted CNN’s anti-SLAPP motion against Wilson, in theory to protect CNN’s First Amendment rights. Wilson’s legal team appealed that decision, however, and received notice Monday that the court of appeal agreed with Wilson’s argument and reversed the original decision.
In the official court document reporting on the decision, the Court of Appeal noted that Wilson v. CNN “…is a private employment discrimination and retaliation case, not an action designed to prevent defendants from exercising their First Amendment rights. Defendants may have a legitimate defense but the merits of that defense should be resolved through the normal litigation process, with the benefit of discovery, and not at the initial phase of this action.”
“We are very pleased with the outcome and this week’s decision in favor of Mr. Wilson,” said Shegerian. “CNN’s conduct and treatment of our client actually fall well outside the scope of the anti-SLAPP statute. Hopefully the court’s refusal to grant CNN’s motion will further serve to put employers on notice that they cannot abuse the anti-SLAPP statute. In fact, the request was an egregious inversion of a statute designed to protect employees from big corporations. Now we can proceed with the case and upcoming trial where we plan to share the systematic discriminatory behavior Mr. Wilson, a tirelessly hard-working and award-winning journalist, endured at the hands of his former supervisors and place of work.”
Case # BC559720
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