Larry Iser and Allen Secretov, representing California Senator Susan Rubio and California Assemblyperson Blanca Rubio (the “Rubio Sisters”), prevailed on an anti-SLAPP motion against former California Assemblyperson Roger Hernandez, who had sued the Rubio Sisters for defamation. On October 27, 2022, the Court ruled that Hernandez’ defamation claims impinged upon the Sisters’ freedom of speech on matters of public interest.
Since being elected to the California Senate in 2018, Senator Rubio has partnered with her sister Assemblyperson Blanca Rubio to pass and champion legislation aimed at increasing the protections available to victims of domestic violence. In doing so, Senator Rubio has been open about her own experience as a domestic violence survivor in the hopes that sharing her story will encourage victims to break out of their cycle of abuse.
In May 2022, Mr. Hernandez filed a lawsuit against the Rubio Sisters, claiming they had defamed him by making statements to the public that Mr. Rodriguez had committed various acts of domestic violence against Senator Rubio, and Mr. Rodriguez sought to have the Rubio Sisters enjoined from speaking about Senator Rubio’s personal experience as a domestic violence survivor. KHIKS responded with an anti-SLAPP motion to strike the defamation claims, arguing that Mr. Hernandez could not make the necessary showing that the Rubio Sisters’ statements were false or made with actual malice, and therefore should not be allowed to bring such a claim which aims to restrict their freedom of speech on a vital matter of public concern. Following a September 7, 2022 hearing during which Mr. Secretov argued on behalf of the Rubio Sisters, Los Angeles Superior Judge Peter Hernandez issued an order granting the Anti-SLAPP motion, striking Mr. Hernandez’ defamation claims.