Anti-SLAPP motion denied; 5th Court reverses.

slapp graphicThe case of MacFarland v. Le-Vel Brands involved a blog post on the website “Lazy Man and Money,” which was critical of a multi-level marketing company that sells dietary supplements. The trial court denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss under the Texas anti-SLAPP statute and the Fifth Court reversed, finding: (1) the suit involved the blogger’s speech; (2) the “commercial speech” exception did not apply; and (3) the plainTexasBarToday_TopTen_Badge_VectorGraphictiff could not establish damages for either business disparagement or defamation. (On that subject, compare the recent case from the Fifth Court of Glassdoor v. Andra Group, which did find sufficient evidence of damage.) The opinion carefully reviews the leading recent authorities on the scope of these provisions of the statute. The case was remanded for further proceedings, including consideration of the defendant’s attorneys’ fees and costs. No. 05-16-00672 (March 23, 2017) (mem. op.)

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