Texas anti-SLAPP law protects woman who criticized tool used to reduce cellulite
HOUSTON — A Texas appeals court has ruled in favor of a Corpus Christi spa owner who was sued for defamation after posting negative comments on Facebook about a consumer product that claimed to reduce cellulite.
The 1st Court of Appeals also agreed with a lower court’s award of $125,000 in attorneys fees to Journeyz Spa owner Karen Wallace, who is represented by attorney Ryan Higgins of Rusty Hardin & Associates in Houston. In addition, the appellate court upheld sanctions of $ 125,000 against ADB Interests LLC and Ashley Black, inventors of the popular massage and cellulite reduction tool , the FasciaBlaster .
“This is a total victory for Karen Wallace and for the right of people everywhere to express their views openly,” says Mr. Higgins. “The trial court found that Ms. Black and ADB were trying to use the law to silence their critics and prevented them from doing so. And now the appellate court has done likewise. ”
Ms. Wallace, had tried the FasciaBlaster and posted on Facebook that it loosened her skin, caused her to gain weight and raised her cortisol levels. That led to the lawsuit by ADB .
Mr. Higgins argued that her Facebook posts were a warning to the public and protected free speech under the Texas Citizens Participation Act , the state’s anti-SLAPP law .
“This case is an excellent example of the intention of the anti- SLAPP law, which is to protect consumers from lawsuits by big companies trying to silence their criticism,” Mr. Higgins said. “I’m very pleased for my client that the appeals court agreed .”
The case is ADB Interest , LLC and Ashley B lack v. Karen Wallace and D/B/A/ Journeyz Spa & Products , No. 01-18-00210 in the Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas.
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