A Pair of Opinions from the Houston COA Serve as a Reminder - Timing is Everything Under the Texas Anti-Slapp

Montiel v. Eduardo, 2019 WL 1186695 (Houston COA 2019) serves as a reminder to properly calendar and pursue interlocutory appellate remedies under the Texas Anti-Slapp.  The movant properly moved for dismissal but the Court did not rule within 30 days after the hearing.  Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §27.008(a).  This denial by operation of law triggers the 20 day deadline to file an appeal under TRAP 26.1(b).  Movant did not appeal within the 20 day deadline and the Houston COA dismissed the appeal as untimely.  

 Skidmore v. Gremillion & Co, 2019 WL 1119401 (Houston COA 2019) confirms that a voluntary appearance (in this instance it was made in the course of disputing a temporary restraining order) starts the 60 day trigger to file a Texas Anti-Slapp.  Tex. Civ. Prac.& Rem. Code § 27.003(b).  The movants made general appearances but were not served with citation.  Applying Tex. R. Civ. P. 120, the Houston COA determined that within the context of the TCPA, the clock runs when the general appearance is made, not when the movants later decide to file their answer. Therefore, the Texas Anti-Slapp motions were untimely.

 Just a reminder - calendar often, early, and err on the side of caution if you want to maintain the viability of a Texas Anti-Slapp motion.

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