Legal Ethics

Demand Letter That Threatened Exposure
Of Sexual Trysts Didn’t Constitute Extortion

July 31, 2013, 4:00 AM

California’s anti-SLAPP statute and the litigation privilege protect an attorney from an opponent’s claim for civil extortion based on a pre-litigation demand letter in which the lawyer accused his client’s business partner of embezzlement and warned that a forthcoming complaint would publicize the person’s alleged use of converted funds “to arrange sexual liaisons with older men,” the California Court of Appeal, Second District, held July 16 (Malin v. Singer, Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist., No. B237804).

But the statute does not shield the lawyer from possible liability on the opponent’s other claims alleging infliction of emotional distress and...

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