Haynes and Boone Successfully Defends New York Times


A team of Haynes and Boone, LLP lawyers successfully defended The New York Times in the Texas Supreme Court against Brandon Darby, a former activist who sued the newspaper for defamation in connection with an article that mentioned his involvement as an FBI informant in a plot to firebomb police cars outside the 2008 Republican National Convention.

In 2011, Darby sued The New York Times and its reporter, Jim McKinley, over the article, which Darby claimed inaccurately said he had encouraged two members of the Austin anarchist community to make firebombs and hurl them at police cars during the convention. The mention came in a story McKinley had written about a fire at the governor’s mansion that alleged Darby had ties to the Austin anarchist community.

The legal team, led by Laura Prather, initially won on summary judgment in Hays County and was then appealed to the Texas Court of Appeals, which upheld the summary judgment on actual malice grounds.  

Darby then filed a petition for review with the Texas Supreme Court but the court denied the petition.

“This was a compelling case and we are exceptionally pleased with the outcome,” said Laura Lee Prather, Haynes and Boone partner and lead counsel on the case. “The case has been ongoing for years and the entire team of lawyers did a fantastic job seeing it through to the end.”

The article mentioned that Darby had been involved as an FBI informant in a plot to bomb the Republican National Convention in Minnesota. He subsequently turned in two young men, known as the “Texas Two,” for making and plotting to throw Molotov cocktails at the convention. The young men pleaded guilty and were sent to jail for two and four years, respectively. However Darby’s role in the entire matter has remained controversial – with many saying he overstepped as an informant and actually encouraged the men he later turned in to police.  

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