Tag: Defamation

Second-Ever Anti-SLAPP Petition Granted Under the Tennessee Public Participation Act, $26,500.00 in Attorney’s Fees and Sanctions Awarded to Prevailing Defendant

The second-ever anti-SLAPP petition filed under the Tennessee Public Participation Act (TPPA)—Tennessee’s new anti-SLAPP statute—has officially been granted, accompanied by the largest fee-shifting award ($26,500.00) ever awarded in a defamation case filed in Tennessee.  The final order—granted by Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Joe P. Binkley—comes on the heels of a February 2020 ruling by […]

Fired Preschool Teacher Loses Defamation, False Light Claims Against Church Preschool Due to Common Interest Privilege, Absence of Damages

By Daniel A. Horwitz: Kelly Love McGuffey began working for the Belmont United Methodist Church in December 2007, where she was employed as a preschool teacher.  During an evacuation drill in January 2015, a child was left in the bathroom in the classroom where Ms. McGuffey and another teacher worked.  Following the incident, Ms. McGuffey […]

Clumsy court ruling allows SLAPP-suit to move forward against State Representative John Mark Windle

By Daniel A. Horwitz: State Representative John Mark Windle represents the constituents of Tennessee House District 41.  District 41 is home of the now-shuttered Jamestown Regional Medical Center, which closed last year following a series of financial and legal issues.  Among those issues were substantial federal tax liens, which “show the IRS is after more […]

Tennessee Court of Appeals to Public Officials: Get Ready For Loads of Libel Lawsuits

By Daniel A. Horwitz: Nearly all of Tennessee’s public officials should purchase libel insurance to protect themselves from baseless defamation lawsuits regarding statements that they make on the job.  That’s the clear message that a panel of Tennessee’s Court of Appeals has sent to public employees across the state in Burns v. State, No. E2018-02174-COA-R9-CV, […]

First-Ever Anti-SLAPP Petition In Tennessee Granted in Lawsuit Regarding Negative Yelp Review

By Daniel A. Horwitz: On July 1, 2019, the Tennessee Public Participation Act—Tennessee’s first meaningful anti-SLAPP statute—took effect. The statute dramatically expanded the scope of speech that receives heightened legal protection in Tennessee. It also equips people targeted by Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (“SLAPP-suits”) with important tools to secure the dismissal of meritless claims […]

Tennessee Supreme Court Restricts Fair Report Privilege, Holds That It Does Not Apply to “Nonpublic, One-On-One Conversations” Between Government Sources and Journalists

By Daniel A. Horwitz: In a significant setback for journalists and Tennessee’s free press, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in Burke v. Sparta Newspapers, Inc., 592 S.W.3d 116, 124 (Tenn. 2019), that the fair report privilege—a critical source of immunity that protects members of the news media from being subjected to frivolous lawsuits that arise out […]

The “Tennessee Public Participation Act,”⁠ Tennessee’s First-Ever Meaningful Anti-SLAPP Law⁠, Takes Effect Today

By Daniel A. Horwitz: If you woke up this morning feeling freer to speak your mind, there’s a reason: A little-noticed law with huge free speech benefits takes effect today. As of July 1, 2019, the “Tennessee Public Participation Act”—Tennessee’s first-ever meaningful Anti-SLAPP law—became effective and affords those who are sued for their speech a […]