Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
A federal court exercising diversity jurisdiction will not apply a state statute if a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure answers the question in dispute. If a federal rule is sufficiently broad to control the issue before the court, it governs unless it exceeds statutory authorization under the Rules Enabling Act or Congress's rule-making power under the Constitution. If no federal rule answers the question in dispute, the federal court undertakes an "unguided Erie" inquiry to decide whether to apply the state statute or federal common law. That choice-of-law inquiry requires the court to apply Erie and its progeny to determine whether failure to apply the state law would lead to different outcomes in state and federal court and result in inequitable administration of the laws or forum shopping.
Davide Carbone filed a complaint against Cable News Network (CNN) for publishing a series of allegedly defamatory news reports about him and the medical center he administered. CNN moved to strike the complaint under the Georgia anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) statute or, in the alternative, to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim for relief under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The district court denied that motion. It ruled that the special-dismissal provision of the anti-SLAPP statute does not apply in federal court because it conflicts with Rule 12(b)(6) and that Carbone's complaint states a claim for relief. CNN challenged both rulings.
Did the motion-to-strike procedure of the Georgia anti-SLAPP statute, O.C.G.A. § 9-11-11.1, apply in federal court?
The court held that the district court did not err in denying CNN’s motion to strike Carbone’s defamation complaint under the Georgia anti-SLAPP because Fed. R. Civ. P. 8, 12, and 56 were valid under the Rules Enabling Act and the U.S. Constitution's Necessary and Proper Clause and governed the same basic question as § 9-11-11.1, its motion-to-strike procedure did not apply in federal courts sitting in diversity jurisdiction. The appellate court lacked pendent jurisdiction to review the district court's denial of CNN’s motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) because that issue was not inextricably intertwined with or necessary to ensure meaningful review of the appealable issue: whether § 9-11-11.1's motion-to strike procedure applied in federal court, a pure question of law.