Laura Prather in Law360: Defamation Suits Face High Bar in Texas Anti-SLAPP Law

07/25/2013


In the two years since Texas passed legislation to eliminate groundless defamation suits, courts have overwhelmingly interpreted the Texas Citizens’ Participation Act as a high bar to clear, eliminating initial confusion about the reach of the statute, experts say...

But several other appeals courts have since disagreed, and the state Legislature amended the TCPA earlier this year to clarify that a defendant can appeal in either circumstance, Latham said. The amendments also extend the time frame for a court to act on a motion to dismiss and mandate dismissal if a defendant can prove an affirmative defense to defamation. 

Laura Lee Prather of Haynes and Boone, LLP, who was the lead author of the bill behind the law and led the charge to clarify it this year, said the TCPA filled a gap in state procedural law. Before it was passed, defendants' only option was dismissal through summary judgment, usually after expensive and time-consuming discovery.

“Many individuals don’t have the resources to fight a lawsuit, and the TCPA gives the court system the ability to evaluate at the onset if a suit is meritorious or meant to intimidate,” she said.

Excerpted from Law360, July 25, 2013. To view full article, click here (subscription required).

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