Regardless of the changes coming on Sept. 1, 2019 when HB 2730 goes into effect, the Texas Anti-Slapp will continue to serve as an effective deterrent to those unwisely retaliating against individuals speaking out on matters of public concern (whatever the Court’s decide that means over the next two years).
For now, we have Baumgart v. Archer, Ca. No. 01-18-002980-CV (Houston COA June 27, 2019) and Day v. Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States, Inc., Ca. No. 04-18-00605-CV (San Antonio COA June 26, 2019) as object lessons.
In Baumgart, not only did plaintiff lose the defamation suit via Texas Anti-Slapp dismissal, but was hit with $130,000 in sanctions. The Houston COA rejected a defamation by implication assertion, along with constitutional challenges related to the denial of discovery and right to jury trial (because it was not raised below).
In Day, a defamation and tortious interference with prospective business relations, the plaintiff also lost via Texas Anti-Slapp dismissal, and was hit with $83,292.50 in attorneys’ fees. The plaintiff not only failed to establish a false statement, but the alleged defamatory statement was substantially true.