Defamation suit against Texas man dismissed under state anti-SLAPP law

Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press / Lilly Chapa | February 12, 2013

A vocal Jacinto City, Texas citizen cannot be sued for defamation after repeatedly accusing a police officer of corruption and calling for his firing during city council meetings, a judge ruled Monday, relying on a state anti-SLAPP statute.

Harris County District Judge Elaine Palmer threw out the defamation suit three days after a hearing explored whether Jacinto City Police Sgt. Dennis Walker could sue resident Larry Schion.

Schion’s attorney Mike Fleming said the case was dismissed under the Texas Citizen Participation Act, an anti-SLAPP statute passed in 2011. The acronym "SLAPP" is short for "strategic lawsuits against public participation," and the law is intended to quickly dispose of frivolous cases filed to silence critics exercising their speech rights.

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By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Legal issues