V&E Secures TCPA Motion to Dismiss on Behalf of Choctaw Construction Services, LLC
On December 29, 2020, Vinson & Elkins secured a complete dismissal of claims alleged against client Choctaw Construction Services, LLC (Choctaw) in the First Court of Appeals in Houston. The case was one of the first successful dismissals under the recently amended Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA).
The plaintiff, a competitor railroad construction company, sued Choctaw for tortious interference and business disparagement, alleging over $1 million in claims, in response to Choctaw reporting various conduct to their mutual client, Union Pacific Corporation.
On behalf of Choctaw, V&E attorneys filed an Anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss under the TCPA, arguing that the plaintiff’s suit infringed upon Choctaw’s right to speak freely and petition.
While the trial court denied the TCPA motion, the First Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision, remanding the case to the 240th District Court of Fort Bend County with instructions to dismiss the plaintiff’s entire suit against Choctaw. The three-justice panel also ordered the trial court to hold additional proceedings “to award Choctaw its court costs, reasonable attorney’s fees, and other expenses incurred in defending against the action as are equitable and just.”
The V&E litigation team included partner Quentin Smith, senior associate Caroline Stewart and associate Shelby Hart-Armstrong. Also advising on critical procedural matters was appellate counsel Cathy Smith.
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