Justia Non-Profit Corporations Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Consumer Law
In this case, the plaintiff, Joseph Gazal, donated over $1 million to purchase a car and a home for a destitute family. He was inspired to make this donation after hearing a homily delivered by defendant Carlos Echeverry, a deacon at his church. Gazal brought a lawsuit against Echeverry and his wife, Jessica Echeverry, as well as SOFESA, Inc., a nonprofit founded and led by Jessica Echeverry. Gazal claimed he was deceived into believing the car and house would be purchased for and titled to the destitute family, when in fact they were bought and titled to SOFESA.The defendants filed a special motion to strike the complaint under the anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute, asserting that the homily and following conversations were protected speech. The trial court denied the motion, finding that the complaint did not rest on protected speech, but rather on private conduct and speech not directed at a wide public audience. Additionally, the court found that the causes of action arose from further communications that took place weeks after the homily.On appeal, the Court of Appeal of the State of California Second Appellate District Division Eight affirmed the trial court's decision. The court held that while the homily could be considered protected speech, the plaintiff's claims did not arise from the homily but rather from the alleged misconduct that occurred after its delivery. The court also found that the private discussions following the homily did not qualify for anti-SLAPP protection as they did not contribute to a public conversation on the issue of homelessness. Furthermore, the court denied a motion for sanctions filed by the plaintiff. View "Gazal v. Echeverry" on Justia Law