Nunez v. PennisiAnnotate this Case
In 2008, Nunez purchased a commercial fishing vessel built in 1944, for $1. Having no fishing or boating expertise, Nunez hired Pennisi to install a refrigeration system and work on the boat’s pumping and electrical systems. The refrigeration system did not work properly; apparently Nunez moved the boat before Pennisi finished work and there was some evidence that the generators were inadequate for the system. Nunez sued Pennisi for the allegedly substandard work. Nunez contends he never read the complaint, but he signed a verification. Pennisi filed a cross-complaint, asserting breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, and goods and services rendered. The court dismissed claims by Nunez and, after a jury verdict, entered judgment in favor of Pennisi. Subsequently, Pennisi sued Nunez and his attorneys alleging malicious prosecution. The court denied a motion by Nunez under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.162 (anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) to strike the malicious prosecution complaint and awarded $8,315 in attorney fees to Pennisi. The court of appeal reversed in part, finding that some of Pennisi's claims lacked the minimal merit necessary to avoid being stricken as a SLAPP, but that Pennisi’s malicious prosecution action had minimal merit.