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TAB files amicus in KPRC interlocutory appeal

TAB has filed an amicus brief in support of a Texas TV station’s interlocutory appeal involving a three-year old suit.

Because of the adverse rulings to date in the case, and any precedents that could be set by the Texas Supreme Court, TAB’s Texas counsel Jackson Walker LLP, led by attorney Paul Watler, prepared a TAB amicus brief in support of KPRC-TV Houston.

Generally, most stations prevail at the appeals court level in an interlocutory appeal, but in this instance KPRC-TV has not.

Daniel Dugi, MD, sued KPRC-TV in 2008 after the station prepared several reports based upon allegations from a former nurse at Cuero Community Hospital that Dugi tested an unapproved drug on his patients.

KPRC-TV’s reports did disclose the doctor’s position that the testing was legal.

In court documents, KPRC-TV said it accurately reported the nurse’s allegations and Dugi’s position.

Dugi, nonetheless, filed a defamation suit against the station in November of that year.

KPRC filed a motion for summary judgment in March 2010 but the judge in the case denied it in June, 2010.

KPRC attorneys Tom Forestier and David Johnson filed an interlocutory appeal in the case in July but the Thirteenth Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's denial of KPRC-TV's motion for summary judgment.

Forestier and Johnson say Dugi filed no evidence that created a genuine issue of material fact on several grounds in response to the motion in the trial court.

As a result the station said the trial court’s and court of appeals’ error in denying KPRC-TV's motion violates important constitutional issues of Freedom of Speech and Press that should protect media defendants from expensive litigation – thus having a chilling effect on media defendants’ exercise of their rights.


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