Texas Citizens Participation Act

In Jones v. Frisco Fertility Center, PLLC, No. 05-21-00008-CV, 2022 WL 17248837 (Tex. App.—Dallas Nov. 28, 2022, pet. filed), the Dallas Court of Appeals addressed whether plaintiff Frisco Fertility Center’s (FFC) request for an injunction against its former employee Dr. Jones qualified as a legal action under the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA). Specifically, the court of appeals addressed the meaning of the phrase “legal action” under the TCPA and whether a request for injunctive relief can serve as a separate legal action under the TCPA when the request is only a component of the relief sought in an action pending in arbitration.Continue Reading Dallas Court of Appeals Addresses the Meaning of “Legal Action” Under the TCPA

The case of Mesquite Servs., LLC v. Standard E&S, LLC, No. 07-19-00440-CV, 2020 WL 5540189 (Tex. App.—Amarillo Sept. 15, 2020, no pet.), arose from a dispute over a non-compete agreement and examined the role that the former version of the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) can play in a misappropriation of trade secrets claim under the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA). Ultimately, the Seventh Court of Appeals, Amarillo concluded that conclusory allegations, without more, did not meet the clear and specific evidence standard prescribed under the TCPA.
Continue Reading Conclusory Allegations Do Not Meet the Clear and Specific Evidence Standard under the TCPA

The case of Infinity Sys., Inc. v. Gray Mech. Contractors, LLC, No. 01-19-00253-CV, 2020 WL 5637505 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Sept. 22, 2020, no pet.), a Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA) case, involved a motion to dismiss under the previous version of the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA).  Ultimately, the First Court of Appeals, Houston determined that private communications between parties who communicate for personal, pecuniary gain are not protected by the TCPA.
Continue Reading The TCPA Does Not Apply to Purely Private Communications for Pecuniary Gain

Houston’s First District Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s dismissal of a misappropriation of trade secrets claim based on the Texas’s anti-SLAPP law the Texas Citizens Participation (TCPA) because both the right of association and the right of free speech require some showing of a public good. Nat’l Signs, Inc. v. Graff, 01-18-00662-CV, 2020 WL 2026321 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Apr. 28, 2020, no pet.).
Continue Reading Houston Court of Appeals Holds that the The Texas Citizen’s Participation Act Requires a Showing of Some Public Benefit

The Dallas Court of Appeals recently reversed a trial court’s decision to grant a motion to dismiss under the previous version of Texas’s anti-SLAPP statute the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA). BusPatrol Am., LLC v. Am. Traffic Sols., Inc., 05-18-00920-CV, 2020 WL 1430357 (Tex. App.—Dallas Mar. 24, 2020, no pet.). The case revolved around a commercial dispute between two companies competing in the “smart bus technology market.”
Continue Reading Dallas Court of Appeals Reverses Trial Court on TCPA Because There Must Be a Showing of a Public Good

Houston’s First District Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s refusal to grant a dismissal of a misappropriation of trade secrets claim based on the previous version of Texas Citizen Participation Act (TCPA) because both the right of association and the right of free speech require some showing of a public good. Newpark Mats & Integrated Services, LLC v. Cahoon Enterprises, LLC, 01-19-00409-CV, 2020 WL 1467005, at *4 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Mar. 26, 2020, no pet.). The plaintiff-appellee in this case Cahoon Enterprises, LLC (Cahoon) is a small, family-owned business in North Dakota that provides roustabout services including the installation and removal of mats used under the sand boxes of oil fracking sites. The defendant-appellant Newpark manufactures the matting systems that Cahoon installs.
Continue Reading First District Court of Appeals Affirms Trial Court’s Decision to Reject a Motion to Dismiss under the TCPA

The Fort Worth Court of Appeals recently examined an accelerated interlocutory appeal under the previous version of the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA), ultimately determining that an allegation of misappropriation of trade secrets must be specifically proven.  In Phuong Nguyen v. ABLe Communications, Inc., 02-19-00069-CV, 2020 WL 2071757 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth Apr. 30, 2020, no pet.), the plaintiff ABLe Communications (ABLe) sued the three defendants, Phuong Nguyen (Nguyen), E2 Optics, LLC (E2), and Southwest Networks, Inc. (Southwest), after Nguyen left ABLe to work for Southwest.
Continue Reading Fort Worth Court of Appeals Analyzes the Evidence for Misappropriation in a TCPA Trade Secrets Case

Collaborative Imaging, LLC v. Zotec Partners, LLC, No. 05-19-01256-CV, 2020 WL 3118614 (Tex. App.–Dallas  June 12, 2020, no pet. h.) is another example of the courts’ increasing unwillingness to apply the previous version Texas’s anti-SLAPP statute the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) to cases involving the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA).  In Collaborative Imaging, an employee of a healthcare practice management services provider quit his job with that provider and went to work for a company started by the doctors from one of the provider’s clients.  A few months after the employee made the change in employment, the client terminated its contract with the provider.  The provider sued the former employee and his new company, alleging that they disclosed trade secrets relating to billing practices that result in termination of the contract between the provider and client.
Continue Reading Dallas Court of Appeals Rejects Application of TCPA to Trade Secrets Case

Last fall, the Texas Journal of Business Law, the journal of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, published my colleagues Joe Cleveland and Kevin Smith‘s article A Practitioner’s Guide to the Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act.  It’s a great resource for any trade secret litigator. 
Continue Reading A Practitioner’s Guide to the Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act

For the last few years, defendants in trade secrets and other commercial litigation claims have used the previous version of Texas’s anti-SLAAP statute the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) as a defense to those claims.  Langley v. Insgroup, Inc., No. 14-19-00127-CV, 2020 WL 1679625 (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] Apr. 7, 2020, no pet. h.) is another example of this strategy.  In Langley, an insurance salesman left his employer to work for a competitor.  The former employer accused the salesman of violating his non-compete agreement, tortious interference with the employer’s contracted clients, breach of fiduciary duty, and violation of the Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act.  The new employer was also a defendant to several of those causes of action.
Continue Reading TCPA’s Commercial Speech Exemption Applies to Employer’s Claims Against Former Employee