BullyVille in the Press
Texas Citizens Participation Act – Appellants Bullyville And James McGibney Win Reversal Of Largest Anti-SLAPP Sanction In United States History!
Article by: Digital Journal
August 27, 2018

Texas Citizens Participation Act – Appellants Bullyville And James McGibney Win Reversal Of Largest Anti-SLAPP Sanction In United States History!


Court of Appeals Finds "Largest Anti-SLAPP Penalty Ever" was "Excessive"; Attorney's Fees Awarded "Not Reasonable"; TCPA Does Not Authorize Non-Monetary Sanctions; Orders Appellee to Pay Costs of Appeal.

The "largest Anti-SLAPP penalty ever awarded in United States History" (even larger than the SLAPP sanction levied against Barbara Streisand) is now the largest Anti-SLAPP penalty ever reversed and remanded by a Texas Court of Appeals. The breathtaking decision, led by Chief Justice Bonnie Sudderth, out of the 2nd State Court of Appeals in Fort Worth, Texas (Case #02-16-00244-CV) found the 67th State District Court in Fort Worth had abused its discretion in awarding Hanszen Laporte client, Neal Rauhauser, more than $300,000, in attorney's fees; $150,000 in sanctions (initial sanction award was $1,000,000), additional non-monetary sanctions not authorized by the Texas Citizen's Participation Act (TCPA), and conditioning costs of appeal of fees and sanctions by Plaintiff on winning a complete reversal. The court further ordered Appellee Neal Rauhauser to pay all costs of the appeal to the prevailing parties, James McGibney and ViaView, Inc (BullyVille's parent company.)

In a tersely worded opinion, where the court concluded the "amount of attorney's fees awarded was not reasonable", it excoriated Rauhauser's attorney Jeffrey L. Dorrell, Partner at Hanszen Laporte, for having engaged in what they found to be "a troublesome pattern of heavy front-end loading of legal work." The court noted "the fact that Appellee was never served in this lawsuit and, thus, was never under any compunction to appear in the lawsuit whatsoever" was particularly "troubling."

"My clients are relieved and elated with the results of this appeal. We felt there were so many things wrong with the lower court's ruling: findings of willful and malicious conduct, $150,000 in sanctions, a grossly excessive award of attorney's fees, awards of non-monetary sanctions that violate due process, a 'conditional' appellate fee award that was structured to have only one possible outcome, we prevailed on all those issues," said Appellant's attorney E.F. Stone of Stone & Vaughan, PLLC.

BullyVille founder James McGibney stated, "we are grateful that the 2nd Court of Appeals found in our favor and look forward to continuing our mission of helping victims of bullying, revenge pornography and online harassment."

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