Jennings v. Wallbuilder Presentations Inc.

February 12, 2013

David Barton, president of Wallbuilder Presentations Inc., sued Petitioners Judy Jennings and Rebecca Bell-Metereau for defamation in connection with a video the pair — who ran for the Texas State Board of Education in 2010 — produced about a controversy involving state school curriculum guidelines. Jennings and Bell-Metereau filed a motion to dismiss Barton's case under the Texas Citizens Participation Act. The trial court denied the motion, and the court of appeals found that, based on its reading of the statute, there was no right to file an immediate interlocutory appeal of such a denial. We argued that the Texas Supreme Court should accept review to make clear that the anti-SLAPP statute itself should be read to allow for immediate appeals from denials, and pointed out that allowing such appeals is consistent with the very nature of an anti-SLAPP statute, as other states and federal circuits have recognized.