California’s unique “anti-SLAPP” state law, which provides severe sanctions for meritless suits filed to chill free speech and the protests of an opponent, gained a foothold in federal court with a favorable Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on Wednesday.

In a case of first impression, the court held that the state’s law against Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, which grants attorneys fees to the prevailing party, can be folded into federal diversity actions that include claims made under California law.

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