The Need For Anti-SLAPP Laws: Developer Sues Author, Publisher, Academic Who Praised Book & Reporter That Reviewed Book

from the lawsuit-bender dept

We've been discussing the need for a federal anti-SLAPP law for a while, to protect people against frivolous lawsuits designed solely to get people not to speak up. Citizen Media Law Group is alerting us to a case in Texas that is calling more attention to the issue, and getting lawmakers much more interested in at least improving anti-SLAPP laws in Texas. It involves a book about a real estate project by Dallas developer H. Walker Royall, which Royall apparently did not appreciate:
When Dallas developer H. Walker Royall found out about an impending book digging into one of his projects, he went on a lawsuit bender.

He sued the author, Carla Main, and her publisher, Encounter Books. He sued Richard Epstein -- the prominent libertarian academic -- for a blurb he wrote praising the book. He sued Mark Lardas, who reviewed the book, and the Galveston County Daily News for publishing the review.
Uh, yeah. As someone who has blurbed a couple of books, that seems ridiculous. Suing the person who writes a blurb for the book, or a review of the book, claiming that they're somehow responsible? Blatantly ridiculous. The article notes that Epstein was dropped from the case for jurisdiction reasons, and Lardas and the newspaper "settled" with Royall (which seems like a bad precedent as well). However, the lawsuit against the author and the publisher is still going on, and it's drawing more attention to the need for anti-SLAPP laws.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 5:50pm

    The Rich use law as a bludgeon.

    Too bad the libertarian is out of it. I'll hope that it changed his notions about allowing some to get filthy rich now he's found out power can be used for evil even in *private* hands.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 6:22pm

    Re: The Rich use law as a bludgeon.

    Absolutely. Nobody should ever have any significant power except the state, because they've a long track record of never abusing or being corrupted by it. Oh, wait...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 7:04pm

    Re: Re: The Rich use law as a bludgeon.

    Look, a bicycle!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 10:02pm

    any source of authority too large or powerful to be overthrown by an angry mob over the weekend is untrustworthy.

    those that are not are less 'trustworthy' and more 'easily replaced'

    modern 'democracy's main job is to make it impossible for that to happen. It has nothing to do with representation and Everything to do with stability.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 10:37pm

    I think there is no need to anti-SLAPP legislation if there was no law about defamation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2010 @ 12:56am

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_defamation_law

    In most states of the Union you can be slapped by the law by calling others a "retard".

    Defamation per se.

    Allegations or imputations "of loathsome disease" (historically leprosy and sexually transmitted disease, now also including mental illness)

    Strict liability
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strict_liability

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2010 @ 1:21am

    How can we reduce the law footprint in our life's?

    That is the question I most want answered, I feel the law is an enabler of bad behavior, a threat to society and freedom.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2010 @ 4:18am

    Simple

    Individually sue H. Walker Royall for violating their First Admendment Rights. A sum of one billion dollars each should do it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    JC, Aug 17th, 2010 @ 5:55am

    Ahh, those bastions of freedom, newspapers ...

    The first to fold in what would probably be considered a first amendment case. Wow, I hope we can find a way to save all these pieces of $&#@.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Mike42 (profile), Aug 17th, 2010 @ 7:09am

    Re:

    Somebody once said, "he who would trade freedom for safety deserves neither."

    I'm sure in was nobody important. Camp counselor or something.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This