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.