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.

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

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Chargone (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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

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