9th Circ. Judge Doubts Insurer's SLAPP Sinking Tower Fight

Law360 (January 15, 2021, 9:38 PM EST) -- A Ninth Circuit judge appeared skeptical Friday of a New Jersey insurance company's efforts to toss under California's anti-SLAPP law an engineering firm's bad faith counterclaim in litigation over San Francisco's notorious sinking Millennium Tower, asking the insurer, "Why didn't you just fight the thing on the merits?"

During a videoconferencing hearing, U.S. Circuit Judge Jay Bybee pointed out that RLI Insurance Co. initially paid insurance claims tied to the sinking tower filed by Langan Engineering Environmental Surveying and Landscape Architecture DPC and its subsidiary.

"Given that you made payments here, doesn't that go to the merits of their [bad faith]...

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