The CA in Wilbanks concluded the Internet was a public forum and ruled that Wolk's statements were in the public interest because her statements were a warning not to use Wilbanks' services. "In the context of information ostensibly provided to aid consumers choosing among brokers, the statements, therefore, were directly connected to an issue of public concern." (See also Hecimovich v. Encinal School Parent Teacher Organization (2012) 203 450, 467 [An issue of public interest is any issue in which the public is interested ]; Terry v. Davis Community Church (2005) 131 1534, 1538-1539, 1547.) The CA explained, "We look for 'the principal thrust or gravamen of the plaintiff's cause of action.' We do not evaluate the first prong of the anti-SLAPP test solely through the lens of a plaintiff's cause of action. The 'critical consideration' is what the cause of action is ' based on .'" ( Hecimovich at pp. 464-465.)
Specifically, Naghibi, acting on behalf of UMI, took actions to evade the Regulations by asking Bart Coppers of Belgian companies BVBA and Raytec to ship ultrasound units for UMI to Iran for a small commission, according to statements made by Coppers during a Department of Commerce Post-Shipment Verification of Raytec. Coppers reported to the Department of Commerce that he met individuals representing UMI and Taban Saar at a conference in the United Arab Emirates, and that UMI and Taban Saar indicated at that time to Coppers that they had a problem selling directly from the United States to Iran.