Tuesday, April 23, 2013

New 9th Circuit Consumer Law Opinion! - Makaeff et al. v. Trump University


Makaeff et al. v. Trump University (9th Cir. 2013)

Ms. Makaeff, a former student, sued Trump University for unfair trade practices. Trump University countersued her for defamation and she moved to strike the counterclaim under California’s anti-SLAPP law.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held the University was a limited public figure and must demonstrate plaintiff acted with actual malice to prevail on its defamation claim.

Under a fact-specific Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S. 323, 345 (1974) analysis, the court determined the University was a limited public figure because its large-scale advertising campaign voluntarily thrust itself into the public controversy regarding the fairness of its business practices.