The California Supreme Court has just ruled in favor of Stanley Wilson’s defamation and race discrimination lawsuit against his former employer, CNN. This is good news for me and for people who care about free speech rights for cartoonists and other journalists because the California Supreme Court agreed to hear my case against the LA Times — specifically the anti-SLAPP portion of the case — as a “grant and hold” petition pending the outcome of Wilson v CNN, which is similar in several important respects.
The opinion just came out today so my attorneys and I are still reviewing it. So far the main takeaways appear to be this:
The court is clearly trying to provide guidance to confused lower courts on the state anti-SLAPP statute. For example, if you followed my case you know that the Court of Appeal justice who ruled against me left us gobsmacked when she claimed ignorance of a key proviso of the law, the rule that at this stage in the case all the allegations of the plaintiff are assumed to be true for the purpose of evaluating whether or not it is viable under prong two of the statute. The Wilson opinion clearly states upfront that this is absolutely the law in the state of California. Given the fact that that did not happen at the trial court or appellate court levels in my case, that bodes well for me.
The court is also concerned about media companies trying to use anti-SLAPP as a way to get rid of all complaints, whether legitimate or frivolous. In a very clear, intelligently reasoned opinion, the justices in a unanimous decision said that CNN and other media companies like the LA Times cannot avoid exposure for their crimes merely because they have First Amendment protections. That overturns the reasoning of the decisions that went against me at the trial and appellate court levels.
Even in the minutiae of anti-SLAPP, point by point, the Wilson opinion reads like a refutation of the LA Times’ defense against me.
So what happens next? There are several possibilities.
The court may remand — send back — my case to the Court of Appeal with orders to take the Wilson decision into account. If they fail to do so, we can appeal back to the Supreme Court to be heard there. If they do, the Times can appeal but it’s unlikely that they would accept their appeal.
Alternatively, the court may schedule oral arguments in my case at the supreme court level. Obviously that would be more efficient and help move along a case that, thanks to the ass-dragging of a lawyer who charges $715 an hour, has been in the courts for 3 1/2 years, all of them dedicated to preliminary hearings under anti-SLAPP.
Once we get past anti-SLAPP, discovery, subpoenas, etc. will begin. Then we can finally start digging to the bottom of the corrupt relationship between the LAPD, the LAPPL pension fund, Tribune Publishing, the Los Angeles Times, current LA school superintendent Austin Beutner, and biotechnology billionaire doctor Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong that led to the LAPD ordering my firing and the LA Times using bogus evidence to carry it out and smear my name even after they became 100% certain that they were wrong.
Thank you so much to the people and organizations who have and are supporting me throughout this fight.