This blog has devoted a lot of real estate to the use of anti-SLAPP motions in California trust and estate litigation. Though the courts’ treatment of such motions is varied and oftentimes unpredictable, Californians can generally rely on the anti-SLAPP statute to strike any meritless cause of action that seeks to hold them liable for engaging in constitutionally protected activity. Traditionally, this has meant absolute protection for the pursuit of litigation, and specifically for funding litigation.
But for trustees, the Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Starr v. Ashbrook (2023) 87 Cal.App.5th 999 means that such protection may not be quite so absolute after all. It turns out that there is a fine line between “engaging in constitutionally protected activity” and “wasting and mismanaging trust assets.”