JT Morris Law recently helped its client win an appeal under the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA), the state’s anti-SLAPP statute. The firm’s client, an Austin homeowner, faced a lawsuit from a nearby animal hospital and boarding facility after he complained to the city and others about excessive noise from the facility’s operations. The facility accused the homeowner of business disparagement, tortious interference with contract, and creating a nuisance.
The Austin Third Court of Appeals held that the TCPA required the lawsuit’s dismissal. The court determined that the lawsuit was based on the homeowner’s exercise of his right to free speech and right to petition. The court also held that the facility could not avoid the TCPA by dismissing some of its claims after service of the TCPA motion to dismiss.
The ruling presents an excellent example of how the TCPA helps citizens protect their speech about community concerns against retaliatory lawsuits. The appeal win means the case will return to the trial court for a determination of the mandatory attorney’s fees and deterrence sanctions the homeowner may recover.
You can read the Third Court of Appeals’ opinion here.