Press Release

Haynes and Boone Wins Dismissal of Suit Targeting Reality TV Show

March 24, 2017

A Haynes and Boone, LLP legal team led by Partner Laura Prather has won a dismissal of a suit against the creators of a reality television show.

The case arose from a television series titled 8 Minutes, which was filmed primarily in Houston and followed a pastor and a support team as they attempted to help victims of human trafficking find a way out of the sex trade. Three women who voluntarily participated in the production of the show and signed releases of claims against the show filed a broad range of claims and alleged $1 million each in damages.

The firm represented A&E Television Networks, LLC; Long Pond Media LLC; and Relativity TV, LLC in the litigation.

The defendants moved to dismiss on various grounds, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12 and under the Texas Citizens’ Participation Act (TCPA). The TCPA protects against lawsuits that aim to silence the exercise of free speech and other constitutional rights. The defendants highlighted that the show involved communications about a matter of public concern — human trafficking —that has been the subject of legislative reform and is a particular problem in the Houston community.

After minimal discovery, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes of Houston granted the motion to dismiss and Anti-SLAPP motion, dismissing all claims against the three defendants.

Haynes and Boone Counsel Christina Crozier assisted Prather in the litigation.

As head of Haynes and Boone’s Media Law Practice Group, Prather focuses on First Amendment, Anti-SLAPP, intellectual property and media and entertainment litigation and appeals. She advises an extensive array of content providers including online and traditional publishers, newspapers, magazines, radio and broadcasters, cable television stations, production companies and music and sports entities. She was instrumental in the passage of the three most significant pieces of First Amendment legislation in recent history in Texas – the Texas Free Flow of Information Act (Texas’ reporter’s privilege), the Texas Citizens’ Participation Act, and the Defamation Mitigation Act.