Legal Briefs: SLAPP and Jindal
Remember Hiram Walker Royall? Sure you do -- he's the Highland Park developer who sued anyone who wrote, reviewed or pretty much read Carla Main's 2007 book Bulldozed: "Kelo," Eminent Domain and the American Lust for Land, which deals with a dust-up over some land grabbed from a family shrimping business in Freeport to make way for a marina development. Hadn't thought about Royall in a while, but the case is alive and well with oral arguments set to take place in the Fifth District Court of Appeals here on September 28. Which is why this morning the Texas Tribune notes some Texas lawmakers, yet again, are trying to craft legislation that'd make strategic lawsuits against public participation -- or SLAPPs -- harder to file. All for it is one Chip Babcock, the Philly journalist-turned-Dallas attorney:
"Just one case against someone who's a citizen journalist with a blog would be enough to get them to quit talking about things," says Babcock, who adds that a judge would have tossed the case out against Winfrey if such a statute existed. "It's no answer for that person to say, well at the end of the day, I'm going to win my case, because at the end of the day they're going to have to hire a lawyer to navigate them through the shoals of pretrial discovery and summary judgment practice, and it's very expensive."Speaking of Dallas attorneys, Forbes is reporting that Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal's done hired a pretty familiar law firm to rep the state in its claims against BP -- none other than Baron & Budd. Nobody's confirmin' nothing, but Daniel Fisher can't help but note the irony of "the future of the GOP" hiring a firm whose namesake just hosted a $1.5-mil fund-raiser for the president at his Highland Park house on Monday. I do like the commenter who quotes from All the King's Men, over which Hiram Walker Royall has not yet sued anyone.