Status Lounge Inc. v. KHOU-TV, Inc., Gannett Co., Inc., William Langlois, Hearst Newspapers, LLC d/b/a Houston Chronicle, and Dale Lezon, 541 S.W.3d 881 (Tex. App.'Houston [14th Dist.] 2018, no pet.)

Plaintiff, the owner of a TABC permit for a nightclub/bar, sued our client, a television station, for its brief online article--based on a police news conference-- that reported on a dispute that occurred in front of the bar and the subsequent shooting of a band member in the arm. On behalf of the television station, we filed a Plea in Abatement, pursuant to the Defamation Mitigation Act. After the abatement period expired and it was clear that no resolution was forthcoming, we filed an Anti-SLAPP Motion to Dismiss. After multiple hearings on the underling Anti-Slapp Motion, the trial court denied the Anti-SLAPP Motion because it found the motion was untimely. On appeal, in a matter of first impression, the appellate court reversed the trial court's denial for untimeliness, found that the Anti-SLAPP Motion was timely filed (taking into account the time during which the matter was abated pursuant to the DMA), and remanded the matter to the trial court to decide the merits of the Anti-SLAPP Motion. The Fourteenth Court of Appeals recently entered its mandate.