James J. Moneer

Legal Experience

1995- Present: Law Offices of James J. Moneer-Complex business and civil litigation with a primary Emphasis on SLAPP motions and civil appeals and writs. Since 2000, Mr. Moneer's practice has focused exclusively on handling SLAPP cases throughout California.

2003-2012: Panelist for THE RUTTER GROUP anti-SLAPP seminars with Justice William F. Rylaarsdam, Justice Judith L. Haller, and Mark Goldowitz, Director of the California Anti-SLAPP Project. Drafted TRG anti-SLAPP handbooks and updates. See www.RutterOnline.com

2001-present: Guest Lecturer at University of San Diego School of Law-Civil Clinic on the topic of anti-SLAPP law.

2009 - present: Panelist on Pincus Professional Education's anti-SLAPP seminars. Drafted sample pleadings in seminar handout materials. Feb 2009 and October 2010. See www.pincusproed.com.

SLAPPs/Civil Appeals and Writs

California Supreme Court Experience

2006- Soukup v. Hafif et al, 39 Cal. 4th 260 - Lead anti-SLAPP counsel for Law Office of Herbert Hafif, APC and all Hafif defendants. Fully briefed and orally argued SLAPPback malicious prosecution defense under CCP § 425.18 in California Supreme Court. High Court held that Hafif could properly bring anti-sLAPP motion to defend SLAPPback suit on first prong but found that plaintiff had raised a triable inference of lack of probable cause and maliceon second prong.

2002- Orally argued as Amicus Counsel in City of Cotati v. Cashman (2002) 2002 DJDAR 9950 before California Supreme Court on 6/6/02 in support of the Cashman Petitioners (SLAPP defendants).

2002- Filed Amicus Curiae Brief in California Supreme Court in support of prevailing SLAPP defendant in Equilon Enterprises v. Consumer Cause, Inc.(2002) 2002 DJDAR 9945.

2002-2003 Two Petitions for Review GRANTED by California Supreme Court in unpublished SLAPP/Malicious Prosecution case Soukup and Hutton v. Law Offices of Herbert Hafif et al. ( No. S109615, S111545). Case was transferred back to Court of Appeal on 10/29/03 for reconsideration in light of Jarrow Formulas v. La Marche (2003) 31 Cal.4th 728, 731 and Navellier v. Sletten (2002) 29 Cal.4th 82, 94-95.

Case # B162572 (Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. BC241082)

APPEAL from an order of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Paul Gutman, Judge. Reversed with directions.

2003- Filed Amicus Curiae Brief in California Supreme Court in support of prevailing SLAPP defendant in Jarrow Formulas v. La Marche (2003) 31 Cal.4th 728, 731.

Significant California Court of Appeals Published Decisions

2013 - Copenbarger v. Morris Cerullo World Evangelism et al. (2013) 2013 WL 1809626.  Attorney Moneer was lead trial counsel for the plaintiff, Paul Copenbarger, in opposing the defendant's anti-SLAPP motion in the trial court.   The trial court erroneously granted the motion.  Attorney Copenbarger represented himself in drafting the appellate briefs based on Moneer's trial court briefing and hired another attorney to orally argue the case.   The Court of Appeal resoundingly reversed the order granting the anti-SLAPP motion as to all three causes of action.

2007 - Hutton v Hafif (2007) 150 Cal.App.4th 527 - Represented all Hafif defendants in related SLAPPBack malicious prosecution case. After transfer from California Supreme Court, Court of Appeal affirmed grant of Hafif's SLAPP motion and judgment of complete dismissal of all of plaintiff's claims. Court reversed only in so far as newly enacted section CCP 425.18 required reversal of SLAPP fee award in SLAPPback case.

2006 - Represented SLAPP defendant in Ramona Unified School District v.GREGORY TSIKNAS et al (4th Dist. 2005) 135 Cal. App.4th 510. "The Court of Appeal recognized Mr. Moneer as an expert in anti-SLAPP law." See pages 522-524.

Commentary on above referenced lawsuit The California Appellate Report, by Professor Shaun Martin at the University of San Diego School of Law.

2003 - Represented SLAPP defendant in Commonwealth Energy Corp. v. Investors Data Exchange (4th Dist. 2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 26.

2001 - Represented SLAPP defendant in Dowling v. Zimmerman (4th Dist. 2001) 85 Cal.App.4th 1400.

2000 - Represented defendant in West Shield Investigations & Security Consultants v. Superior Court (2000) 82 Cal.App.4th 935, review denied. [Petition for Writ of Mandate GRANTED after denial of Summary Judgment]

Five Million Dollar Attorney Fee Jurisprudence Appeal Fall 2008 [In re NATURAL GAS ANTI-TRUST CASES I THROUGH IV (SEMPRA ENERGY) J.C.C.P. CASE NOS. 4221, 4224, 4226, 4228] - Retained by Jeffrey R. Krinsk, Esq. of Finkelstein & Krinsk, San Diego to represent objector UCAN as lead appellate counsel in objecting to $160 million fee award to class plaintiffs' attorneys, Thomas Girardi, Esq. and Pierce O'Donnell, Esq. Drafted Appellant UCAN's Opening Brief (4th Dist./Div. One Case No. D049206), which induced fierce settlement negotiations that resulted in a $5 Million settlement in favor of UCAN and the Finklestein & Krinsk firm.

Expert Testimony - Legal Malpractice/Attorney Fee Agreement arising from SLAPP case

January 6, 2011 - Lefkowitz v. Gruenberg (37-2009-00101969-CU-ON-CTL- San Diego) Plaintiff sued for his former employment attorney for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty alleging that after defeating the defendant Bank's anti-SLAPP motion in the trial court below, his attorney at no time advised him of the risk of having to pay defendant Bank's attorney's fees in event Bank's appeal succeeded. The former attorney presented handwritten notes of a phone conversation where he discussed the risk of fees at the time the bank appealed. Plaintiff also alleged that the fee agreement was unconscionable and other ethics violations. Attorney Moneer testified as the defense expert that there was no negligence on behalf of the attorney and that he fully complied with his duty of care in a SLAPP case and, in the alternative, that there was no causation or damages. Moneer testified at length as to the complexity of the case in that two experienced attorneys and the trial judge misapplied the anti-SLAPP law as indicated in the Court of Appeal's unpublished opinion reversing the trial court's denial of the anti-SLAPP motion. Plaintiff's expert, Peter Thompson, Esq. testified that the attorney's conduct fell below the standard of care. In a special verdict, the jury reached a finding of "no negligence". See LA Daily Journal: Verdicts & Settlements - 2/11/11, p. 6. Expert Testimony - Attorney's Fees

December 2009 - Westreich v. Feinberg (SDSC Case No. 37-2009-00052027-CU-OR-NC) - Retained by Ed Benito, Esq. of Gordon & Holmes, San Diego as special counsel to assist with anti-SLAPP motion and, after prevailing, to provide expert testimony in support of X-defendant Feinberg's SLAPP fee motion seeking $151,000.00 in fees. Case settled favorably to Feinbergs before SLAPP fee motion could be heard..

August 2009 - McVey v. Day (NC 050103) - Retained by Margaret E. Morrow, Esq. of Russell, Mirkovich & Morrow, Long Beach, CA to testify as a SLAPP fee expert in support of plaintiff McVey's opposition to Day's SLAPP fee motion seeking over $118,000.00 in SLAPP fees after prevailing on SLAPP motion and appeal. I testified that $55,000.00 was a maximally reasonable fee. Court awarded approximately $80,000.00.

July 2008 - Guarano v. Stickney et al. (Case No. S-1500-CV 257485 SPC) - Retained by Gregory Jon Anthony, Esq., San Diego, CA to testify on behalf of plaintiff Guarano as a SLAPP fee expert in opposing Defendant's anti-SLAPP fee motion filed by Mark Goldowitz, Esq. of California Anti-SLAPP Project (CASP), Berkeley, CA. Defendant's fee motion sought over $110,000.00 in SLAPP fees. After defense counsel reviewed my expert declaration and fee opposition, the case settled for $40,000.00.

2005 - Lockton v. Small (CV 810963) - Represented plaintiff, Lockton, post-appeal, in opposing an anti-SLAPP fee motion filed by Bingham & McCutchen seeking over $324,000.00 in fees. In a 30-page expert declaration, after laying a solid foundation, I opined that a maximally reasonable fee for the SLAPP defense would be $87,000.00.

On 12/8/05, the trial court awarded defendants their SLAPP fees in the amount of $101,000.00.

There are many other cases in which I successfully testified as a SLAPP fee expert that are too numerous to list here.

Significant Unpublished Pro-Plaintiff SLAPP Cases

A. Court of Appeal Decisions

Most notably, Mr. Moneer represented a defamation PLAINTIFF against a SLAPP motion filed by Mark Goldowitz, Esq., Director of the California Anti-SLAPP project. The trial court granted the SLAPP motion but Mr. Moneer obtained complete reversal on the SLAPP appeal against Mr. Goldowitz: Folkers et al. v. Newton et al. (4th/3 No. G017187; O.C.S.C. No. 732664) filed 4/24/98. Mr. Goldowitz' petition for review was DENIED July 15, 1998.

B. Superior Court Orders

7/16/03- Johannes Ramirez, M.D. v Renato Judelena, M.D. et al. (BLC 002131) - Represented plaintiff Ramirez in successfully opposing defendants' anti-SLAPP motion. Defendants voluntarily dismissed their SLAPP appeal pursuant to settlement. (4th/2 No. E034725). Plaintiff Ramirez paid no SLAPP fees or costs as part of that Settlement. The firm of Stephen, Oringher, Richman, & Theodora, P.C. - Los Angeles, represented the defendants.

8/6/02- Successfully defeated SLAPP motion filed by defendant Farmers Ins. Exchange in McCurley et al. v. Farmers et al. v. Schaeffer, Farmers et al. (L.A.S.C. No. BC253984) Defendants did not appeal. Plaintiffs paid no SLAPP fees or costs to defendants. The firm of Tharpe & Howell, Los Angeles represented the defendants.

Significant Unpublished SLAPP Defense Cases

11/28/06- Berger v. Dobias (2nd Dist. No.B182072) Mr. Moneer represented defendant and appellant Dobias. Plaintiffs sued defendant for malicious prosecution and abuse of process arising out of a civil suit for assault and a petition for an injunction prohibiting harassment (Code Civ. Proc., § 527.6; all further statutory references are to the Code of Civil Procedure unless otherwise indicated). Defendant filed a special motion to strike, contending the action was a SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) (§ 425.16). The trial court denied the motion. Defendant appealed and the order was reversed.

9/29/09 - Berger II v. Dobias SLAPP appeal - Court of Appeal found that attorney Moneer displayed exceptional skill in representing SLAPP defendant Dobias in malicious prosecution action and that "the quality of Moneer's services far exeeded that of comparable attorneys" providing similar services. See pages 14 -15 of opinion. Court of Appeal affirmed fee award of $92,337.50 plus supplemental fees and costs to Dobias for Moneer's services.

11/8/04 - Thermoview v. UCAN (D042815; SDSC GIC 808576). Mr. Moneer represented defendant and appellant UCAN as special counsel in preparing and arguing the SLAPP motion in the trial court with the assistance of UCAN's general counsel, John Hansen, at Rosner, Law, & Mansfield. The trial court per Judge Hayden denied the SLAPP motion. The Court of Appeal reversed and held that UCAN's (e)(4) public issue SLAPP motion should have been granted as to all claims and awarded UCAN fees and costs.

Represented defendant Chappell and obtained complete reversal of order denying SLAPP motion against Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, Irvine. Commonwealth Energy Corp. v. Chappell (4th Dist/3 No. G026344) filed January 15, 2002.

Significant SLAPP Fee Awards

10/8/04 - Ramona Unified School District v. Tsiknas, Hamilton, and
Apgar et al. (SDSC GIE 020665). Mr. Moneer represented defendants Tsiknas, Hamilton, and Apgar as special counsel in preparing and arguing the SLAPP motion to strike plaintiff's abuse of process and barratry claims, which Judge Eddie C. Sturgeon granted based on, inter alia, litigation privilege grounds. The Court awarded 100% of attorney Moneer's hours billed @ $375.00 per hour plus a 1.50 multiplier. His co-counsel, Julie Hamilton, was awarded fees for all of her time on the SLAPP motion at $225.00 per hour plus a 1.50 multiplier. Ramona Unified has appealed solely to delay payment because they are a public entity, which is apparently exempt from the bonding requirement of Dowling v. Zimmerman, supra, under CCP 995.220. Ramona Unified's appeal is meritless and dilatory.

2002- Awarded $108,000 in SLAPP fees by Court at $325/hr. for 302 out of 302 hours billed in Commonwealth Energy Corp. v. Chappell (O.C.S.C. No. 811996).


Despite Mr. Moneer's extensive defense experience in the published cases, Mr. Moneer has worked with numerous plaintiffs' attorneys and law firms in successfully defeating SLAPP motions in the trial court and on appeal in non-published cases. Over the past two years, SLAPP plaintiffs have made up the core of Mr. Moneer's anti-SLAPP practice.

Seminars & Lectures

Pincus Professional Education

Oct. 12, 2011 - Pincus Professional Education  - Seminar - "Anti-SLAPPs: - Presented in L.A.
Oct. 6, 2010 - Pincus Professional Education  - 3rd Annual Seminar - "Understanding SLAPPs: Process & Procedure from Initiation through Appeal." - Presented in L.A.
Apr. 13, 2010 - Pincus Professional Education - Intermediate to Advanced SLAPP Webinar: Understanding the elusive "gravamen" concept.
Feb. 6, 2009 - Pincus Professional Education - "Understanding SLAPPs: Process and Procedure from initiation through appeal." - Presented in L.A.

The Rutter Group

June 6 & 7 2012 - The Rutter Group - "Getting Results with Anti-SLAPP Motions" - Participated as seminar panelist with Justice William F. Rylaarsdam, Hon. Richard A. Kramer, Hon. Elizabeth Allen White and Thomas R. Burke. Live presentations in LA and SF.

May/June 2009 - The Rutter Group - "Getting Results - Anti-SLAPP Motions" - Participated as seminar panelist with Justice William F. Rylaarsdam and Hon. Elizabeth Allen White. Drafted hypos and TRG anti-SLAPP handbook. Live presentations in LA and SF.
May/June 2006 - The Rutter Group - "Anti-SLAPP and Anti-SLAPPback Motions" Seminar panelist with Hon. William F. Rylaarsdam and Sharon Arkin, Esq.
Apr. 2004-The Rutter Group - "Anti-SLAPP A Powerful Dispositive Motion- Update". Seminar Panelist with Justice WIlliam F. Rylaarsdam, Justice Judith L. Haller, and Mark Goldowitz, Director of the California Anti-SLAPP Project. (Presentation video taped- Seminar materials and video available through The Rutter Group). See www.RutterOnline.com
May 2003-
The Rutter Group - "Anti-SLAPP A Powerful Dispositive Motion- Update". Seminar Panelist with Justice WIlliam F. Rylaarsdam, Justice Judith L. Haller, and Mark Goldowitz, Director of the California Anti-SLAPP Project. (No video - Seminar update available through The Rutter Group - 3.0 MCLE) May 29, 2003. See www.RutterOnline.com
Feb. 2003- The Rutter Group - "Anti-SLAPP A Powerful Dispositive Motion"
Seminar Panelist with Justice William Rylaarsdam and Justice Judith Haller and Mark Goldowitz, Director of the California Anti-SLAPP Project. ( Video and seminar materials available through The Rutter Group- 3 hour MCLE) Feb. 27, 2003. See www.RutterOnline.com

San Diego County Bar Association

Jan. 2009 - San Diego County Bar Association - "Don't Get SLAPPed Out of Court!!! Learn How to Idenitify SLAPP issues before it is too late!!!"
Oct. 2003- San Diego County Bar Association - "Don't Get SLAPPed Around in Court! SLAPPS: Application and Recent Trends"- Seminar panelist with the Honorable Judith L. Haller. 3.0 MCLE. Oct. 2, 2003
Oct. 2002- San Diego County Bar Association - SDCBA THIRD THURSDAY SEMINAR: "Malicious Prosecution and SLAPP suits" 3 hour MCLE Seminar
May 2002- San Diego County Bar Association - SDCBA THIRD THURSDAY SLAPP SEMINAR
2 hour SLAPP seminar
Apr. 2002- San Diego County Bar Association - SDCBA "Don’t Get SLAPPed Out of Court"; SDCBA SLAPP seminar
Mar. 2001-San Diego County Bar Association - "Don’t Get SLAPPed Out of Court": Lectured MCLE Luncheon for SDCBA Civil Litigation committee.

San Diego County Public Law Library
September 2009 - SLAPP overview and Update. Sponsored by San Diego County Public Law Library.

San Diego County Paralegal Association
May 19, 2010 - Don't Get SLAPPed Around in Court!!! Sponsored by the San Diego County Paralegal Association (SDCPA)

Consumer Attorneys of San Diego

Nov. 2002- : "Don’t Get SLAPPed Out of Court"
1 hour MCLE lecture.
Jan. 2002- "SLAPP Cases": CASD MCLE Roundtable Seminar

Orange County Bar Association

Sep. 2000- "SLAPP Motions and Their Application in Labor and Employment Litigation": Lectured MCLE Luncheon for Orange County Bar Association (OCBA) Labor and Employment Law Section on 9/11/00

Published Articles by Mr. Moneer

August 2010 - "Two SLAPPs Don't Make a Right: SLAPPback Malicious Prosecution Suits under CCP 425.18" ABTL Magazine - L.A.

August 2010 - "Anti-SLAPP Motions: Avoid Malpractice, Hefty SLAPP Fees, and SLAPPback Malicious Prosecution Suits by Identifying SLAPP Issues early on. ABTL Magazine - Orange County.

July 2010 - "Anti-SLAPP Motions: Avoid Malpractice, Hefty SLAPP fees, and SLAPPback malicious prosecution suits by identifying SLAPP issues early on. San Diego County Paralegal Magazine (SDCPA).

February 24, 2010 - "Turbo Charge SLAPP Fee Motions with Expert Declarations.htm" Los Angeles Daily Journal.

Vo1. 22 no. 2, 2009 "Using Expert Declarations in SLAPP Fee Motions" California Litigation, The Journal of the Litigation Section, State Bar of California, Vol. 22 No. 2 2009.

April 2007-"Two SLAPPS Don't Make a Right: But they Do Clog our Courts" California Litigation, The Journal of the Litigation Section, State Bar of California, Vol.20 No. 1 (unpublished version click here)

Feb. 2004- "New Statute Exempts Certain Suits from SLAPP Law", L. A. Daily Journal, Focus Column, Feb. 9, 2004.

Sep. 2003- "SLAPP Law Applies to Malicious-Prosecution Action", L.A. Daily Journal, Focus Column, Sep. 18, 2003.

Nov. 2002- "Trilogy of High Court Cases Reaffirm Broad Plain Language Construction of anti-SLAPP Law", Association of Business Trial Lawyers, San Diego, ABTL Report, Volume IX no. 4, November 2002 (click here for PDF version)

Mar. 2002- "2001 Has Been a Busy Year for Decisions Involving SLAPPs": L.A. Daily Journal, Focus Column, March 4, 2002.

Oct. 2001- "Dowling, Ketchum & Shekter: construing Anti-SLAPP fee Provision Broadly to Protect Free Speech and Petition Rights": CASD Trial Bar News, civil Procedure Column, Oct. 2001, p. 19.

Nov. 2000- "Torts: Analyzing Potential SLAPP Problems": California Lawyer Magazine Expert Advice Column, Nov. 2000, p.28.

Aug. 2000- "No-Win Situation: Opposing a SLAPP Motion is Time Consuming and Expensive": The Practitioner. Anti-SLAPP law- L.A. Daily Journal, 8/4/2000.


Legal Scholars, Law Firms, Papers and Publications where Mr. Moneer is cited as a reference

May 2004- "Panel tossed SLAPP-back Suit Against Prominent Trial Lawyer"., By Claude Walbert, Los Angeles Daily Journal, May 19, 2004 P. 2.

Aug. 2002- "High Court Strengthens Anti-SLAPP Protections In a trio of rulings, the justices say defendants do not have to prove the motive behind SLAPP suits"., By Peter Blumberg, San Francisco Daily Journal, Aug. 30, 2002

Jul. 2002- "Ruling Puts Mattel's Lawsuit Back in Business", By Katherine Gaidos, L.A. Daily Journal, July 3, 2002

Jun. 2002- "Intent to Chill Four Cases Before California's High court Raise the Issue of Intent On the Part of Plaintiffs Who File SLAPP Suits", By Peter Blumberg, San Francisco Daily Journal, June 5, 2002

Jun. 2002- "Lawyers SLAPP Back!", By Lisa M. Chait and Harry W.R. Chamberlain II, Law Firm of Stephan, Oringher, Richman & Theodora, P.C. Website article- June 2002.

Undated- "Stifling Citizen Activism", By Bob Peace, Alumni Distinguished Professor -North Carolina State University, P.O. Box 8113, Raleigh, NC 27695. Ph: 919-515-4434, Fax: 919-515-4446, bob_peace@ncsu.edu.


Legal Education

1994 J.D. University of San Diego, School of Law
Honors & Activities
1993 High Pass- USD Legal clinic, Civil Division.
1993 Moot Court: St. Thomas More Constitutional Law Team Competition
1993 NITA- Advanced Trial Advocacy
1992 USD British Litigation Internship

Pre-Legal Education

1991 M.A. Sociology of Religion and Law. Marquette University Graduate School
Thesis: Separation of Church and State in America
Full Tuition Scholarship
1991 Teaching and Research Assistant for Dept. Chair and an Emeritus Professor

1989 B.A. Criminology and Law Studies. Spanish Minor. Marquette University
1987-1989 President of criminology and Law Studies Council