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Screw Maker Can’t Sue Over Legal Advertisment

SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) - Simpson Strong-Tie Co. cannot sue an attorney for a newspaper advertisement stating that readers who built decks using Strong Tie galvanized screws after January 2004 "may have certain legal rights" entitling them to money, a California appeals court ruled.

After the ad appeared in the San Jose Mercury News and Los Gatos Weekly Times, Simpson sued attorney Pierce Gore of the Gore Law Firm for defamation, trade libel, false advertising and unfair business practices.

The justices threw out the manufacturer's complaint, ruling that it constitutes a strategic lawsuit against public participation and is not exempt from anti-SLAPP law as a statement "about" the attorney's services.

The court affirmed an award of attorney fees to the defendant's attorney.

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