Heavyweight Hollywood attorney Marty Singer’s infamous blistering letters on behalf of his clients won’t be changing their tune or tone anytime soon thanks to a trio of judges on a California Court of Appeal. Yesterday the Second District overturned a trial court’s ruling over a 2011 letter from Singer to former Big Brother contestant Mike Malin accusing him of embezzlement over $1 million from a client and promising to reveal the money was spent on sexual dalliances. “Singer’s demand letter is a protected speech or petitioning activity under the anti-SLAPP statute,” wrote Justice Steven C. Suzukawa for the panel Tuesday (read it here). The Second District panel consisted of Justices Nora M. Manella, Thomas L. Willhite Jr. and Suzukawa. Malin, who coutersued over the litigator’s letter, appeared on Season 2 of the reality show. He was accused by Singer’s client Shereene Arazam of stealing funds from her restaurant. “The order denying the special motion to strike Malin’s complaint is reversed in part as to the first cause of action for extortion, and affirmed in part as to the second cause of action for invasion of privacy and the third and fourth causes of action for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The matter is remanded with directions to the superior court to grant the special motion to strike the first cause of action for extortion,” Suzukawa added.
What that last part means is that while Singer is in the clear on the extortion matter, and can recoup legal fees, he still has to face civil rights violations claims and intentional infliction of emotional distress for obtaining emails and other private correspondence of Malin’s in the case. We are pleased with the Court of Appeal’s ruling today holding that the demand letter sent by my clients was protected speech and does not constitute criminal extortion,” said Singer and his firm’s lawyer Jeremy Rosen of Horvitz & Levy LLP in a statement. “Ultimately, we believe the entire lawsuit — against all defendants — will be dismissed on the merits.” Mike Malin is represented by Los Angeles attorney Barry P. King