New Anti-SLAPP Laws #HireKVP
On November 6, Davidson Sheen attorney Kristen Vander-Plas was the featured CLE speaker at the Lubbock County Young Lawyers’ Association monthly meeting. Kristen spoke on the recent legislative changes to the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA), also known as the anti-SLAPP law. (SLAPP stands for “strategic lawsuit against public participation”). The TCPA was enacted to ensure that citizens and companies cannot be sued for exercising their rights under the U.S. Constitution—their right to freedom of speech and association, as well as their right to petition the government. When it applies to a lawsuit, the plaintiff must produce enough evidence of their claim to survive the court dismissing the case.
While the TCPA has been around for a number of years, the 2019 Texas Legislature made significant changes to the law. The law now ensures the media the strongest defense against these David v. Goliath lawsuits in the country. In addition, the changes to the law hand a strong defense to consumers who wish to leave their opinions regarding businesses through communications such as Google reviews, Yelp, Angie’s List, and other similar sites. Other important protections exist for individuals and businesses who have been unfairly sued. On the other hand, protections have been built into the law to ensure that if a person or business has a bona fide claim or has been wronged—their suit can still move forward.
Davidson Sheen has litigated anti-SLAPP motions from both sides of the spectrum. The firm has used the TCPA to protect clients from frivolous and expensive lawsuits and has defended our clients from a TCPA motion when our client’s case was meritorious. Attorney Vander-Plas has and continues to shepherd dozens of cases through trial courts and appellate courts throughout the State of Texas, receiving extremely successful results for her clients because of her expertise in the subject matter
If you have questions about this topic or would like to talk to an attorney about a case you think might fall into the anti-SLAPP context, please contact our office. Our team will be more than happy to review your case to determine if a consultation* is necessary. For additional information and to read a copy of the statute for yourself, visit: https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/CP/htm/CP.27.htm