Alicia Calzada is an associate in the Business Litigation Practice Group in the San Antonio and Austin offices of Haynes and Boone, LLP. She has experience in general litigation with an emphasis on matters involving defamation, First Amendment, commercial practices, social media counseling and Texas' new anti-SLAPP law, as well as intellectual property matters pertaining to copyright and trademark infringement claims.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Alicia was a photojournalist for more than 20 years. Her work has been published in a variety of national magazines and newspapers, in addition to several books.
Alicia speaks regularly on legal issues affecting photojournalists and has taught as an adjunct professor at Texas State University. She is a member of the San Antonio Bar Association, the Bexar County Women's Bar Association and American Bar Association's Forum on Communications Law. Alicia attended the 2008 Institute on World Legal Problems in Innsbruck, Austria.
Alicia is a past president of the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) (2005-2006), serves as an attorney for NPPA and is the founder and chair of that group's advocacy committee. In 2013, the NPPA Board of Directors introduced the Alicia Calzada First Amendment Award recognizing individuals that have supported advocacy work in First Amendment freedoms.
Alicia has worked on a variety of legislative initiatives and was involved in the effort to obtain passage of Texas’ anti-SLAPP statute in 2011. She runs the blog, Slapped in Texas, which tracks the powerful statute as it is being put to use in state courts.
Selected Publications and Speeches
- "Drone Journalism" column in Ask An Attorney, Texas Press Association e-Newsletter, September 2014.
- "A Victory For State Anti-SLAPP Laws," Law360, July 16, 2014.
- "Using Images From Social Media: 3 Lessons From AFP Case," guest author, Law360, February 24, 2014.
- "Shut Out: The Dispute Over Media Access Rights in High School and College Sports," 7 DePaul J. Sports L & Contemp. Probs. 1, 2010.
- "Orphan Works: Tapping a Resource of Strip Mining," News Photographer, August 2008.
Selected Representative Experience
Theaola Robinson v. KTRK Television, Inc., et. al., No. 2011-54895 (234th District Court, Harris County, Tex., October 8, 2014)
Represented a television station in a libel per se
action brought in response to the station's true reports on the closing of a local charter school due to (among other things) a lack of adequate funds and allegations of financial mismanagement and failure to properly account for State funds. Finding that the station had not accused the plaintiff, the former superintendent of the school, of any criminal activity and that the broadcasts were true, the court of appeals reversed the trial court's denial of the station's Anti-SLAPP Motion and dismissed the case against the station. The court also held that one cannot rely upon third-party user generated content to establish a defamation per se
claim. On remand the trial court awarded our client more than $250,000 in attorneys' fees.
Christopher Williams v. Cordillera Communications, Inc., KVOA Communications, Inc. d/b/a KRIS Communications; U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, Corpus Christi Division, 2014
Haynes and Boone obtained the first ruling in the state in which a federal court declared the Texas anti-SLAPP statute a substantive right to be applied in federal court. The case, pending in the Southern District of Texas - Corpus Christi Division - involved a local television station's investigative series about a high school teacher and coach who had been accused of improper behavior with students and other improper acts for more than a decade and was permitted to move from school district to school district without having his teacher certification revoked. The court granted the station’s anti-SLAPP motion and requested a hearing on fees and costs.
Susan Delgado v. Carol Alvarado, Case No. 2014-10592, 234th Dist. Court, Harris County, Texas
Represented Texas State Representative Carol Alvarado whose former political opponent sued her for $1.5 million, for a variety of claims related to her political campaign's website and social media communication, but for which there was no private cause of action. We filed a motion to dismiss under Texas' Anti-SLAPP statute and set a hearing for two weeks later. The plaintiff, after threatening to amend her petition to include more claims, non-suited with prejudice the morning of the hearing on the motion to dismiss. We went forward with the hearing and obtained a ruling in favor of our client for the full amount of her attorneys' fees and expenses related to disposing of the lawsuit, approximately $11,000.
Brandon Darby, Appellant v. The New York Times Company and James C. McKinley, Jr.
Successfully defended the appeal of a defamation summary judgment ruling in our clients' favor after plaintiff, a former activist and FBI informant, sued our clients, The New York Times
and one of its reporters, for $187 million dollars for an article written about an arson at the Texas Governor’s Mansion that mentioned the plaintiff’s relationship, as an FBI undercover informant, to two activists who were convicted for their actions at the 2008 Republican National Convention. We filed a motion for summary judgment asserting the statements made were not capable of a defamatory meaning, were true or substantially true, and privileged and that plaintiff was a public figure and could not establish actual malice. After a hearing on our motion for summary judgment, and before any depositions had been taken, the court granted defendants’ motion and dismissed the case in its entirety. The plaintiff appealed and the Court of Appeals for the Seventh District of Texas at Amarillo affirmed on the grounds of actual malice.
Steven Busti v. Platinum Studios, Scott Mitchell Rosenberg; Universal Studios, Inc., d/b/a Universal Pictures; and Dreamworks II Distribution Co., LLC, Cause No. A-11-CA-1029-SS (W.D. Texas), appeal at No. 13-50938 (5th Cir. 2013)
Plaintiff claimed that Cowboys and Aliens (the film and graphic novel) violated the copyright of his eleven-page comic of the same name, which he self-published in 1994. After we filed a motion for summary judgment on behalf of the defendants, the court awarded summary judgment in their favor, finding there was independent creation, no access, no factual copying, and no substantial similarity. After appealing to the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, Plaintiff dropped his appeal.