Member Login

Forgot Password?
Need Login?

You are here: Home > News & Events > News > Jackson Walker wins…
Welcome, guest: Login to your account

Jackson Walker wins anti-SLAPP appeals court victory

TAB’s general counsel, Jackson Walker L.L.P., secured a victory May 2 for a newspaper company and its sources when the Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas reversed a defamation ruling under the Texas Citizens' Participation Act (TCPA), the state's anti-SLAPP statute.

TAB, the Texas Press Association and the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas worked to pass the TCPA in 2011 Legislature.

David Hagey, Division Vice President at IntegraCare, a division of Kindred at Home, said he was highly pleased with the outcome of the case and Jackson Walker's representation.

"The fact that so many of the cases that the Court of Appeals relied upon had been argued by Jackson Walker gave us great confidence in presenting our case," Mr. Hagey said.

Jackson Walker represented IntegraCare of Texas, LLC, and its Chief Compliance Officer Charlotte Patterson in the case, which involved a series of articles published in the Mineral Wells Index, a newspaper owned by Newspaper Holdings, Inc. (NHI), about compliance issues and investigations into the Crazy Water Retirement Hotel, an assisted-living center in Mineral Wells.

Patterson was a source for some of the information published in the articles.

In 2011, the Hotel and Charles Miller, president of the Hotel's corporate owner, sued NHI, IntegraCare, and Ms. Patterson for defamation, business disparagement, and tortious interference with contract.

The defendants moved to dismiss the claims under the anti-SLAPP statute; however, the trial court in Houston denied the motion.

On appeal, Jackson Walker attorneys and co-counsel argued that NHI, IntegraCare and Patterson met the requirements for dismissal under the TCPA.

In particular, they contended that the statements fell under the category of protected free speech and that the Hotel and Miller failed to make a prima facie case for their claims.

Further, this was a case of first impression with regard to the commercial speech exception under the TCPA.

Though the plaintiffs claimed that the defendants were engaged in the business of selling or leasing goods or services, thereby exempting them from the TCPA, the Court of Appeals found otherwise.

Indeed, the Court held that plaintiffs "failed to establish that [their] suit against IntegraCare involved statements, directed to customers, arising out of a commercial transaction, rather than statements, directed to state officials and the general public, concerning a matter of public health and safety."

The appeals court concurred and reversed the trial court's denial of the defendants' motions to dismiss.

Jackson Walker attorneys Bob Latham and Amanda Patrick represented IntegraCare and Patterson before the trial court and on appeal.

Co-counsel Jim McCown, a partner at Nesbitt, Vassar & McCown, L.L.P., represented NHI.

Jackson Walker has won several other cases under the anti-SLAPP statute, including victories on behalf of the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Dallas, the Houston Community College System, Univision 23 KUVN, and The Burnt Orange Report.

Questions? Contact TAB's Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

« Back to News Archive
« Back to Latest News