California’s “anti-SLAPP” (“SLAPP” is an acronym for strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute—codified at California Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16 et seq.—is the primary vehicle for defending against any action involving petitioning or free speech. The statute was designed to provide an early and fast summary judgment-like procedure to allow defendants and cross-defendants to file a motion to dismiss either an entire complaint, specific causes of action, or even just portions of a cause of action, and to require the plaintiff to respond before conducting discovery. By facilitating an early challenge to a plaintiff or cross-complainant’s claims, the anti-SLAPP statute allows the responding party to avoid the costs and delay that chill the exercise of constitutionally protected rights.
Under California Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16(f), an anti-SLAPP motion must be filed “within 60 days of the service of the complaint . . . .” But what if the plaintiff files an ameded complaint? In Newport Harbor Ventures, LLC v. Morris Cerullo World Evangelism (2018) 4 Cal.5th 637, the California Supreme Court held that the 60-day timeline runs from the date a complaint is filed with the cause(s) of action challenged in the anti-SLAPP motion.