Dole has requested to postpone the hearing in the BANANAS!* case that was supposed to be held this week. The new date will be August 19. This despite the fact that the Anti-SLAPP statute specifically states that a hearing on that kind of motion should be heard no later than 30 days from filing - yet it has been nine months since the motion was filed.
Dole dropped their lawsuit against BANANAS!* in October 2009, but there were still issues to resolve. We pointed out that even though Dole had dropped the lawsuit, we were still entitled to a ruling on our Anti-SLAPP motion and to an award of the legal fees incurred in defending against Dole’s action.
The hearing on these matters have been constantly rescheduled, and no less than five different Judges have been assigned to the case in the year that it has been pending. The first four judges either recused themselves or were taken off the case for various reasons, but since November 18 2009, Judge Dau has been the judge in the matter.
On December 22, 2009, we filed a separate motion setting forth the attorneys’ fees that we seek to recover. Thus, the Anti-SLAPP motion and the motion for fees were set for hearing on January 14, 2010. Dole requested that this date be moved and we agreed to move the hearing to January 28, 2010. A long series of court-imposed delays then followed. The January hearing was first postponed to March – and then to June.
On June 13, Dole requested to postpone the hearing to July 14, 2010, saying that they wanted to wait until after the hearings were completed in the Tellez matter. We refused to stipulate on the grounds that the Tellez hearings are irrelevant to our motions and we had waited far too long for a ruling as it was. Dole brought a motion to move the date despite our objections and suggested July 14, but at the hearing on the motion, Judge Dau indicated he was “not prepared to rule on the matter” and instead suggested August 19.
So here we are after countless delays and weird circumstances. The Anti-SLAPP statute specifically states that a hearing on an Anti-SLAPP motion should be heard no later than 30 days from filing - yet it has been nine months since the motion was filed. Beyond that - the Los Angeles Superior Court rules state that the court should try to dispose of an entire case within one year from the date of its filing - yet by the time the hearing is held, the action will have been pending for a year and two months. This delay is, of course, all in favor to Dole, who always tries to either postpone their court hearings or shift the debate away from themselves and on to irrelevant issues. This time, their main strategy seems to be postponing the case long enough to make the judge feel that the case has gone cold. We will of course not allow this to happen.