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Football coach will appeal dismissal of libel suit against newspaper

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  1. Libel and Privacy
A Texas high school football coach says he will appeal a libel suit dismissed by the state appeals court last…

A Texas high school football coach says he will appeal a libel suit dismissed by the state appeals court last month.

Coach Mark Zimmer, of  Jacksonville High School, sued Scott Tyler, the sports editor of the Palestine Herald-Press, after Tyler wrote that the coach had made an obscene gesture at a 2006 game.

The appeals court held that the editor was merely expressing an opinion in calling Zimmer’s action "obscene." Opinion speech is protected under the First Amendment.

"We’re appealing, of course," Zimmer’s lawyer, Charles Clark, told The Dallas Morning News. "We’re taking it to the Supreme Court to see if they will take a look at it."

The incident occured at a September 2006 game between Jacksonville High and neighboring Palestine High. The postgame celebration, recorded on video, showed Zimmer "abruptly thrust his arms downward to his hips three times while slightly bending his knees," according to the ruling.