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St. Mary's Law Journal

First Page

101

Date Created

10-2020

Publisher

St. Mary's University School of Law

Editor

Melissa Fullmer

Last Page

171

Abstract

Few Texas laws enacted in recent decades have had a greater impact on civil litigation or been more litigated than the Texas Citizen’s Participation Act (“TCPA”) passed in 2011. Despite its stated purpose of protecting First Amendment rights, as written, the TCPA’s seemingly limitless application confounded judges and litigants alike, causing the 86th Legislature in 2019 to pass sweeping changes to that law. The Article describes the original statute’s problematic nature, the caselaw interpreting it, and the recent changes’ legislative history and substance. The authors highlight contributions of key legislators and stakeholders. The Article’s extensive treatment of changes to key definitions, such as “right of association,” “legal action,” and “matter of public concern,” demonstrates how the new law reigned in the TCPA, with the notable exception of its application to media defendants, and its far-reaching implications for advocates and their clients. The Article also addresses new exemptions added by the legislation, exemptions retained from the old law, and new procedures for resolving cases under the statute. The authors argue the Legislature’s extensive amendments bring the TCPA more into line with established First Amendment jurisprudence and traditional procedures for pre-trial case resolution and provides suggestions for practitioners to access what for many may be unfamiliar areas of the law.

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