Jackson Walker Wins Twin Anti-SLAPP Victories for Dallas Better Business Bureau
On May 15, 2013, Jackson Walker L.L.P. won victories for its client, Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Dallas, Inc., in two separate cases before the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas in Dallas. In each case, the court dismissed claims against the BBB pursuant to the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA), the state's anti-SLAPP statute, which was adopted in 2011 to discourage retaliatory lawsuits brought against parties exercising their right to free speech.
"We are very pleased with the outcome of these two suits and the manner in which Jackson Walker handled them," said Jay Newman, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Dallas. "Jackson Walker has successfully represented us for many years, and we appreciate their expertise and dedication to protecting our right to fulfill our mission of advancing trust in the marketplace."
The BBB is a nonprofit organization that seeks to encourage ethical business practices through voluntary self-regulation by businesses. Both lawsuits involved letter-grade business reviews published by the BBB as a service to the public to help consumers make informed decisions about where they do business. In each case, the BBB filed a motion to dismiss under the TCPA, which was denied by the trial court. On appeal, Jackson Walker successfully argued that the reviews constituted protected free speech and met the requirements for dismissal under the TCPA and that the appellees in each case failed to establish a prima facie case for their claims. The BBB was represented by a Jackson Walker team led by David Myers and including Stephanie Sparks, Christopher Bankler, and Colin LeCroy.
The victories for the BBB represent the most recent in a string of cases Jackson Walker has won under the TCPA. The firm, through its attorneys Bob Latham and Amanda Patrick, recently won a case of first impression with regard to the commercial speech exception under the TCPA in Newspaper Holdings, Inc. v. Crazy Hotel Assisted Living Ltd. That case, in fact, was cited by the appeals court in both of its opinions regarding the BBB cases, as was a decision favoring Jackson Walker's client Univision 23 KUVN, a case of first impression dismissing defamation claims against media clients under the TCPA, which was successfully argued by Jackson Walker partner Chip Babcock in 2012. Jackson Walker has also previously won victories under the TCPA on behalf of the Houston Community College System (Chip Babcock and John Edwards) and The Burnt Orange Report (Chip Babcock, Nancy Hamilton, and Audra Gonzalez Welter).
Jackson Walker L.L.P. has 125 years of experience in providing legal counsel to clients throughout Texas, the United States and internationally. The firm provides a strong regional base of more than 340 attorneys in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Angelo, San Antonio and Texarkana.