Hicks Thomas Team Defeats Anti-SLAPP Dismissal Motion at Trial and Appellate Level

Hicks Thomas lawyers defeated a motion to dismiss their client’s claims of trade secret theft, winning in both the trial court and appeals court and ensuring the lawsuit will move forward.

In prevailing, Hicks Thomas partner Robin Harrison and associate Joshua Bauer beat back an effort by the defendants to get the lawsuit dismissed under Texas’ anti-SLAPP law, the Texas Citizens Participation Act, which bars “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation” involving the exercise of certain constitutional rights.

Mr. Harrison and Mr. Bauer represent an art gallery accusing a former employee of misappropriating the gallery’s proprietary information and fine art inventory. After the gallery sued the ex-employee and others, the defendants filed the anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss.

In response, the Hicks Thomas lawyers argued that the motion should be denied because it was filed more than 60 days after the defendants appeared at hearings for a temporary restraining order and a temporary injunction. Mr. Harrison and Mr. Bauer successfully argued that the defendants’ appearance at the hearings had the same force and effect as if they had been served with citations to appear under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, meaning the 60-day clock began when they showed up in court.

The trial court agreed with the Hicks Thomas team’s argument and denied the motion to dismiss. The defendants appealed to Texas’ First Court of Appeals and on March 12, 2019, the court affirmed the trial court's order, ensuring the art gallery’s case will move forward.

“We are pleased for our client’s wins on the anti-SLAPP motion and appeal and look forward to proceeding to trial against the defendants,” said Mr. Harrison.

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