Superior Court Judge Grants SEIU’s Anti-Slapp Motion, Paves Way for NUHW to Pay Legal Fees
Oakland – In February, the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) with great public fanfare filed a lawsuit against the Service Employees International Union and five of its elected officers alleging the union had engaged in threats, intimidation, and assault.
There was just one problem, a California Superior Court Judge has ruled: NUHW had no evidence.
Judge Ronald E. Quidachay granted SEIU’s anti-SLAPP motion Friday, August 21 and dismissed NUHW’s lawsuit, ruling that the charges were really an attempt to squelch SEIU’s free speech.
An anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) motion permits defendants in a lawsuit to show that the plaintiffs are not really attempting to settle an issue of law, but are actually attempting to stop groups and individuals from speaking out.
“Plaintiffs have proffered no evidence, much less evidence that a jury could find to constitute ‘clear proof’ that Defendants even knew about, much less actually participated in or actually authorized, the allegedly unlawful acts that Plaintiffs ascribe to SEIU agents or employees,” Judge Quidachay wrote in his decision.
Under the law, defendants in a lawsuit in which an anti-SLAPP motion is granted are entitled to collect attorney’s fees from the plaintiff, a course of action SEIU intends to pursue. San Francisco attorney Angela Alioto filed the lawsuit on behalf of NUHW.
“I guess when they realized they couldn’t win a debate with us, they figured the next best thing would be to use the courts to try and take away our free speech rights,” said Ella Henderson, a nutritional aide at Kaiser Vallejo. “The judge saw right through it.”