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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Appeals panel affirms trial court did not err in denying TCPA motions to dismiss

State Court

By Carrie Bradon | Jul 29, 2019


BEAUMONT— A state appeals court has affirmed that a trial court did not err in denying Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA)  motions to dismiss.

Transdesign International LLC, Amado Lizarraga, Claus Sutor and Falcon Steel America LLC filed an appeal in the Texas Ninth District Court of Appeals against SAE Towers Ltd., challenging the trial court’s denial of their motion to dismiss the claims filed against them by the defendant. 

The court has ruled that SAE has met its burden of proof and that the trial court did not err in denying TCPA motions to dismiss.

According to court documents, TransDesign and Falcon Steel were accused of misappropriating trade secrets and illegally using SAE’s software to produce drawings and designs. SAE also sought a temporary and permanent injunction, suing Falcon Steel and TransDesign for statutory and common law misappropriation of trade secrets and conspiracy to misappropriate, alleging more than $40 million in damages. 

In their motions to dismiss and at the trial court’s hearing on the motions, TransDesign and Falcon Steel argued that the Texas Citizens Participation Act does not apply and that commercial speech exemption to TCPA does not apply, also that SAE has failed to meet its burden of proof. SAE, however, in a written response to the motions to dismiss argued that its claims did not concern TCPA-protected communications.

The trial court signed orders denying the TCPA motions to dismiss.

According to the suit, “SAE has met its burden of proving that the commercial speech exemption applies to the legal action SAE filed against TransDesign and Falcon Steel. We conclude that the trial court did not err in denying the TCPA motions to dismiss filed by TransDesign and Falcon Steel because the commercial speech exemption applies to the underlying claims. We affirm the trial court’s order denying TransDesign’s motion to dismiss, and we affirm the trial court’s order denying Falcon Steel’s motion to dismiss.”

The case was heard by Justice Leanne Johnson.

Texas Ninth District Court of Appeals case no. 09-18-00080-CV

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