SLAPPs Against Corporations

Counterfeiting suit malicious prosecution, or malicious prosecution a SLAPP?

In 2004, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Burberry, and other companies suspected that their products were being counterfeited on Santee Street in downtown Los Angeles, also known as Santee Alley.  Hundreds of shops, booths, and stands make up Santee Alley and sell anything from clothing to jewelry.  These companies hired a company called Investigative Consultants to investigate the matter.  Investigative Consultants confirmed that these companies’ products were indeed being counterfeited.

In July of 2006 these companies filed suit against multiple businesses and individuals, including Antounians.  After a sharp decrease in counterfeiting in Santee Alley, Louis Vuitton/ Dior decided to drop their suit against Antounians and focus on defendant landlords.  Because they were dropping the case they were ordered to pay $75,875 in attorney fees and costs, which Louis Vuitton/Dior agreed to.

Not satisfied with that, Antounians filed a malicious prosection suit, claiming that Louis Vuitton/ Dior, Arent Fox and Arent Fox lawyers knew that the allegations were false.  The defendants responded by filing an anti-SLAPP motion and eventually won because they were not able to show probability of prevailing on malicious prosecution claims.

It is astonishing to think that someone could file such a ludicrous claim after counterfeiting a company’s product.  Frivolous suits like these clog the courts and cost not only defendants but taxpayers an unthinkable amount of money in lawyer fees and costs.