In Kurz v. Syrus Sys., LLC, ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Nov. 22, 2013), the California Court of Appeal (Sixth Appellate District) reversed the Santa Clara County Superior Court court’s order denying plaintiff’s anti-SLAPP motion to strike a cross-Complaint brought be the defendant employer for malicious prosecution of an unemployment insurance benefits claim.

Plaintiff filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against his former employer and the defendant employer cross-complained, alleging that Plaintiff had maliciously prosecuted a meritless claim for unemployment insurance benefits that terminated in Defendant’s favor. Defendant argued that the claim was denied and the denial was upheld on appeal by a decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.

Plaintiff then filed and anti-Slapp motion, arguing that Defendant could not establish a probability of prevailing on its claim, which the trial court denied.

The appellate court reversed, finding that Defendant could not establish a probability of prevailing on the malicious prosecution claim, since Unemployment Insurance Code section 1960 specifically bars from evidence in a separate or subsequent civil action against the employer “[a]ny finding of fact or law, judgment, conclusion, or final order . . . in any action or proceeding before the [Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board].”  Without such evidence, Defendant could not show that it was likely to prevail.