Escamilla v. VannucciAnnotate this Case
In 2012, Escamilla, a fugitive recovery agent, searched the plaintiffs' residence, looking for their relative, who had skipped bail. In 2014, the plaintiffs sued Escamilla based on the incident, asserting negligence, false imprisonment, assault, and battery. Attorney Vannucci represented the plaintiffs. In 2017, Escamilla filed a cross-complaint asserting abuse of process against the plaintiffs for instituting civil harassment proceedings resulting in a temporary restraining order. In 2019, the jury ruled in favor of Escamilla.
Approximately 23 months later, Escamilla filed a malicious prosecution complaint against the plaintiffs and Vannucci. Vannucci filed an anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation (Code Civ. Proc. 425.18)) motion, claiming the malicious prosecution claim arose out of his representation of the plaintiffs, a protected activity. and that Escamilla would not be able to prove a probability of prevailing because his malicious prosecution claim was barred by the one-year limitations period, Civil Code 340.6(a). Escamilla argued that his malicious prosecution claim was governed by section 335.1's two-year statute of limitations. The court of appeal affirmed, in favor of Vannucci. Section 340.6(a) governs “[a]n action against an attorney for a wrongful act or omission, other than for actual fraud, arising in the performance of professional services.” It applies to malicious prosecution claims against attorneys who performed professional services in the underlying litigation. The tolling provision is inapplicable.