A California appellate court has called out lawyers from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips and their client Dignity Health for using the automatic right to appeal decisions denying motions under the state’s anti-SLAPP law to bog down a lawsuit brought by a group of physicians.

In a 23-page published opinion issued Tuesday, the First District Court of Appeal said Manatt and Dignity deserved criticism for seeking “to extend SLAPP where it has never gone before,” delaying the lawsuit for 22 months, and burning “untold attorneys fees.”

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