An appeal led by Rusty Hardin & Associates attorney Lara Hudgins Hollingsworth asks the Texas Supreme Court to clarify and resolve questions over the application of the Texas anti-SLAPP statute in a closely watched trade secret dispute.
In separate petitions for review filed Friday, [Terra Energy Partners LLC] and employees Benjamin “B.J.” Reynolds, Mark Mewshaw and Wes Hobbs told the state’s highest court that a trial court and the First Court of Appeals wrongly applied a narrow definition of “legal action” under the Texas Citizens Participation Act when those courts held that the employees’ motion to dismiss was untimely.
Terra and the employees argue that [Sanchez Oil & Gas Corp.’s] filing of an amended petition in July 2018 restarted the 60-day deadline to file motions to dismiss under the TCPA. The trial court and intermediate appellate court disagreed with the trio’s reading of the statute, finding that the amended petition did not reset the TCPA deadline because it alleged no new claims, according to Friday’s petition.
The appeal also questions a lower court’s sanctions ruling that called the appeal “frivolous” considering the Supreme Court is poised to hear a similar argument in an unrelated case.
“I was shocked that the court of appeals stepped out on that ledge to find it frivolous,” Lara told Law360. “It’s only fair that the Supreme Court has the opportunity to reach a conclusion.”
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