Rule 202, anonymous Internet postings, and anti-SLAPP

firstamendment_0 (1)In Glassdoor Inc. v. Andra Group LP, the Fifth Court affirmed an order granting a Rule 202 petition about online reviews of a business as an employer, offering several pointers for the handling of such petitions:

  • The trial judge limited the scope of the examination to two posts, and specific items within them;
  • The movant established its potential business disparagement damages with three affidavits about the effect of the posts on its recruiting;
  • The statements at issue went beyond “hyperbole or mere personal opinion” to make specific “accusations of illegal conduct that are capable of being proved true or false”; and
  • The First Amendment rights of the anonymous reviewers to speak anonymously “must be balanced against the right of others to hold accountable those who engage in speech not protected by the First Amendment.”

A “mirror image” anti-SLAPP motion was properly rejected for the same reasons that the Rule 202 petition was granted. No. 05-16-00189-CV (March 24, 2017) (mem. op.)

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