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By Jessyka Heredia


January 5, 2023 (Lemon Grove) – Tuesday during a hearing over Zoom, Superior Court Judge Peter A. Lynch ruled that Lemon Grove Councilmember Jennifer Mendoza must pay fellow Councilmember Liana LeBaron’s $32,000 in legal fees from an anti SLAPP suit filed by LeBaron.

Back in February 2023, Mendoza filed for a temporary restraining order after Mendoza said LeBaron approached her at a brewery and whispered, “I’m glad I have so much control over you.”  LeBaron says Mendoza got up and pushed a chair into her. LeBaron called the Sheriff, but the Sheriff’s department found “no probable cause” that an assault had occurred. LeBaron contends that she merely said hello to Mendoza and that Mendoza got up, pushing the chair into her.

Mendoza also claimed LeBaron has stalked and harassed her, screaming profanities at Mendoza and her husband (since deceased), and that she felt fearful amid “escalating” harassment   Incidents alleged included some at campaign events and City Council meetings. Mendoza has also claimed LeBaron once boxed her in with a vehicle, drove past Mendoza’s home honking, and called her profane name.

A judge granted a temporary restraining order for Mendoza against LeBaron but later lifted that following hearings.

LeBaron in turn filed a motion contending that Mendoza’s restraining order constituted an anti SLAPP suit intended to block her First Amendment freedoms.

On this point, Judge Peter A. Lynch agreed in a hearing in early May, when he granted LeBaron’s anti-SLAPP motion regarding campaign and City Council related activities.  LeBaron also filed statements from multiple witnesses who said the drive past Mendoza’s home occurred during a candidate parade.

In August Judge Lynch ruled, “the court finds that there is not a reasonable probability of unlawful violence in the future.” He denied Mendoza a permanent restraining order.

LeBaron was granted the anti SLAPP suit back in June because many of the examples of harassment that Mendoza claimed occurred were during campaigning and elections activities. The Judge ruled that was a violation of LeBaron’s rights to free speech and not admissible, as you cannot silence a political opponent.

Lebaron and Mendoza did not respond to emails from ECM requesting comments.

However LeBaron’s attorney Cory Briggs claimed Mendoza sued his client for “conduct that was clearly protected by the First Amendment and in furtherance of the work the voters elected her to do....That’s why the judge threw out most of Mendoza’s case before trial and threw out the rest afterward. Maybe having to pay my client’s legal bills will make Mendoza and other bullies think twice next time.”

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Councilmember Chaos

It's my opinion that I and others can't wait until Councilmember LeBaron is gone. She is an embarrassment to our City.