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The Eastern District of Texas Determines that Texas’s Anti-SLAAP Statute Does Not Apply to Claims Filed in Federal Court

Article By Heath Coffman

The Eastern District of Texas Determines that Texas’s Anti-SLAAP Statute Does Not Apply to Claims Filed in Federal Court | The Fort Worth Business & Employment Law Reporter

A plaintiff who believes its trade secrets have been misappropriated can pursue those claims in either federal or state court. One of the advantages of choosing federal court is the growing body of case law holding that the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA), Texas’s anti-SLAAP statute, does not apply in federal court.

The Eastern District of Texas just added to that body of case law in Star System International Ltd. v. Neology, Inc., No. 4:18-CV-00574, 2019 WL 215933 (E.D. Tex. Jan. 16, 2019). In Neology, the Court rejected that a TCPA motion to dismiss could be filed in response to plaintiff’s Texas Uniform Trade Secret Act claims. According to the Court, the TCPA was a state procedural mechanism that did not apply in federal court. Furthermore, even if it wasn’t procedural, it conflicted with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12 and 56, and therefore, federal courts could not apply it.

Thus, when a plaintiff believes someone has misappropriated its trade secrets, it should carefully consider whether it should bring those claims in federal court to avoid a TCPA motion to dismiss–at least until the changes to TCPA go into effect.