Barker v. Fox & Assocs.Annotate this Case
Allison, an elderly woman, suffering from dementia, had two daughters. For several years, a team of paid caregivers, consisting of personal friends, tended to Allison, including Barker. A rift developed between Allison’s daughters, and Wagner was appointed conservator of the person and estate of Allison. Wagner made changes to Allison’s care, began paying caregivers legitimately and reporting their wages as employees, and hired Fox, a registered nurse, as Allison’s case manager. Fox determined that Allison required nursing oversight, as none of the caregivers had any background or training in nursing or home healthcare. While being tended to by Newell, an employee of Fox, Allison “became combative and a quarrel resulted,” causing injuries to Allison. A series of emails followed, some critical of those involved in caregiving, and Barker was eventually terminated as a caregiver. Barker sued for defamation and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Fox and Wagner filed an anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) motion to dismiss. The trial court denied the motion. The court of appeal reversed, holding that Barker had not met his burden to show that his complaint was legally sufficient and supported by a sufficient prima facie showing to support a favorable judgment.