Colyear v. Rolling Hills Community AssociationAnnotate this Case
Defendant, a homeowner in Rancho Palos Verdes, submitted an application to his HOA, seeking to invoke the HOA's dispute resolution process against a neighbor who refused to trim trees blocking defendant's views. Plaintiff, another neighbor and HOA member, filed suit against defendant and the HOA, alleging that two of the offending trees were actually on his property, that the relevant tree-trimming covenant did not encumber his property, and therefore that defendant and the HOA were wrongfully clouding his title by seeking to apply such an encumbrance. The trial court granted defendant's special motion to strike the claims alleged against him under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, the anti-SLAPP statute. The court concluded that defendant made a prima facie showing that plaintiff's complaint arose from defendant's statements made in connection with an issue of public interest. Therefore, defendant's statements were protected under section 425.16. The court also concluded that plaintiff could not show a probability of success on the merits of his claims against defendant, particularly because defendant dismissed his application shortly after the lawsuit was filed and has never sought to invoke the HOA's tree-trimming process against plaintiff. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.