Texas Supreme Court Rules in Internet Smear Case

Categories: Courts

Jeremy Brooks
The Texas Supreme Court last week issued a ruling that could change how Texas lawyers fight defamation in the internet age.

The State Supremes ruled in the case of Robert Kinney, a Texas legal recruiter for BCG Attorney Search, Inc. who left the firm in 2004 to start a competing venture. Some time later, BCG's president Andrew Barnes posted a warning of sorts on the websites JDJournal.com and Employmentcrossing.com accusing Kinney of taking part in a kick-back scheme while at BCG. Barnes claimed he'd uncovered evidence that Kinney attempted to pay a recruiter at competing firms under the table to hire one of his candidates. Barnes says he fired Kinney immediately upon discovering the kickback scheme.

Kinney insists that's all false. The case landed in Travis County court when Kinney sued Barnes, BCG and two subsidiaries for defamation. The case entered questionable First Amendment territory when Kinney asked the court for a permanent injunction ordering Barnes to remove the (allegedly, since his case hasn't yet been decided) defamatory statements from his websites, to contact any third-party publishers and ask them to scrub the defamatory statements from their websites, to "conspicuously post a copy" of the court order on Barnes' website, to publicly retract said defamatory statements, and to issue a letter of apology that would appear on Barnes' website for six months. (Kinney has since dropped his request for an apology and retraction from Barnes.)

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Five NFL Season Win Total Bets You Should Invest In

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Two days away from the start of the NFL season, and I'm getting all my ducks in a row for kickoff Thursday night.

I have the Texans schedule loaded in my calendar so I know exactly how many Sundays I'll have to watch a total menu of other teams' games during the season. (Total? Three. October 12 after a Thursday Texans game, October 19 before a Monday Texans game, and November 9 on the bye week.)

My fantasy auction is tonight, so combing through the last round of updates and roster tweaks from around the league. I won't bore you with what my roster looks like after the auction here or on Twitter. I hate people that do that.

All you need to know about my fantasy league is this:

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Dog Contraception In The Name of Love

Photo illustration by Susan Du, "Portrait of Madame X" from Wikimedia Commons

Maybe you saw BARC's recent cry for help, or maybe it was the heartbreaking No One's Dog photographic exhibit at Diverse Works that finally convinced you to take on a furry roommate fresh off the streets. In any case, you now realize that you are the proud guardian of a teenager bent on propagating his adorable genes, but maybe you haven't quite wrapped your mind around being a grandparent yet. You might go for puppies in the future, but that conversation is best left for after he goes to school and gets a job to help with the rent.

For the dog owners who don't want to contribute to the hordes of sad strays roaming Houston's streets, and for the dogs who are just waiting for the right significant, here are some non-surgical methods of contraception.

1. The Pill

For the ladies who are into hers and hers matching outfits, there's another way you could demonstrate solidarity with your dog. There are a variety of dog birth control pills that the owner would administer at the beginning of the lady dog's heat cycle to delay ovulation. It works similarly to human birth control pills, and side effects include breast enlargement and weight gain. Nothing new. However the pill does increase the chance of breast cancer, so vet consultation is a must.

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J.J. Watt Becomes Highest Paid Defensive Player In NFL History

Photo by Groovehouse
Man, you got to feel for the Houston Astros.

In a metropolitan area where only 40 percent of the city has the television capability to watch their games, and only a minuscule fraction of those people are choosing to do so, the only headline grabbing maneuver they had left (short of one of their players showing up in the iCloud pics with Jennifer Lawrence) was to fire their manager.

So they did that on Monday, firing manager Bo Porter and ruining the planned "slow news" Labor Day off day for editors and baseball reporters everywhere in the process.

And lo and behold, they managed to seize a tenuous grip on the Houston news cycle for about twelve hours. Good for them.

However, it didn't last long.

Because in a city where J.J. Watt could rip a loud fart and the entire city would immediately turn its attention to the Texans, Watt and Bob McNair decided to pull out the "news cycle" nukes instead:

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Five Reasons to Give HPD Funding for Body Cameras

Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland is asking City Hall for $8 million to equip 3,500 police officers over three years in order to arm HPD officers with small body cameras in a bid toward police transparency.

The push for department-wide body cameras is an expansion on a pilot program that began last year, in which 100 HPD officers were fitted with the devices during the test run. The so-called body cameras clip to the front of officers' uniform shirts and are capable of recording both video and audio of police encounters while on duty.

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College Football 2014: Jameis Winston's Heisman Highlight Reel Begins (VIDEO)

Screen shot from ACC Digital's YouTube page
College football is back, and for this we should all be grateful. It was quite the opening weekend over the holiday!

The season kicked off with an unexpected Thursday night beatdown by the Texas A&M over the South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia, launching the career of Kevin Sumlin's next Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback (Nation, meet Kenny Hill!)

The Saturday morning, we started things off with Penn State winning James Franklin's debut as head coach in Happy Valley with a 26-24 last second win over Central Florida in Ireland. (NOTE: We need an 8:00 a.m. football game every Saturday. Please, President Obama, in between rounds of golf, make this happen.) We continued with Alabama getting a tussle from West Virginia in the afternoon before putting away the Mountaineers, followed by the first in what historically we know will be about a half dozen WTF moments from Les Miles in a 17 point comeback in the nightcap as LSU beat Wisconsin.

Good first weekend that also gave us some great visual gifts, two in particular which were very clarifying on a larger scale for the upcoming season.

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Texas Among the Worst for Gender Equality


Let's talk about gender (in)equality, shall we?

In 2013, the U.S. failed to make the top 10 -- or even the top 20 -- of the World Economic Forum's list of the most gender-equal countries. And we're guessing that little issue is, at least in part, because of the big ol' state of Texas.

A recent study from WalletHub ranked Texas 47 out of all 50 states for gender equity because, according to the data, Texas is near the bottom when it comes to how states treat women.

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Cougars Embarrass UH on Supposed Glorious Night for New Stadium

John Royal
TDECU Stadium, not long before everything started to go bad, so bad
Stop me if this sounds familiar. The heavily favored Houston Cougars open up the season at home against a team from Central Texas. But instead of winning the game by double digits, the Cougars are upset by double digits. Just replace Texas State with UTSA and make the final score 27-7. But there's one major difference because this time, the Cougars were opening up their brand-spanking-new pleasure palace, TDECU Stadium, before a record on-campus crowd of 40,795. It was a bad loss, a horrible start to a new season, and one that feels all too familiar under the Tony Levine regime.

Let's take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly from Friday night's debacle.

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Meyerland Hipster Church Courts Impossible Demographic

Photo by Susan Du
Kathy McDougall, Angie Boudreaux, Jenni Fairbanks, Earl Fairbanks and Jackie Brown gather for a fellowship dinner at the Fairbankses' house.

Angie Boudreaux grew up in her grandmother's conservative Southern Baptist church an odd child who loved going every week just to hear the preacher preach. Eventually, she became a Sunday school teacher and made her living helping young girls read the Bible.

It would have been a straightforward story, except a super-awkward thing happened to Boudreaux at the end of high school. After much internal wrangling over whether hanging out with lesbians all the time was just something that jock girls did, Boudreaux had to admit she had fallen in love with her best friend, another woman.

She cried, she prayed and others prayed with her, but she stayed gay. Some years later, when church leadership found out, they told her she couldn't be trusted with teaching children.

Jackie Brown is not gay. But after college, when she tried to reconnect with Christianity, a church leader called her an adulteress for living with her then-boyfriend (now husband). It didn't help that she was then barred from singing in the church choir because she also sang at a bar on weeknights.

"The church didn't pay me," Brown said. "The bar did."

The Rev. Jenni Fairbanks was quick to interject that her church hired Brown precisely because of her professional experience. "She logged her hours," Fairbanks said with a shrug.

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Two of Houston's Freeways Top Texas's 100 Most Congested Roadways

Sorry Austin, but Houston has knocked you out of the top spot. Well, at least when it comes to the top spot on the list of Texas' 100 most congested roadways, anyway. We haven't quite caught up to you on being a hipster hot-spot yet, but we suppose there's always next year.

According to an analysis conducted for the Texas Department of Transportation by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Houston's very own I-610 West Loop has officially surpassed Austin's IH 35 -- last year's winner of the prestigious traffic award -- as the most congested roadway in Texas. Awesome.

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