P.O. Box 200842
Austin, Texas 78720
(512) 619-8639
Fax (512) 372-1645

Oprima aquí para información en Español "Seguro que hablamos Español” [email protected]

Practice Areas

Our office enjoys handling a wide variety of legal matters including:

  • Commercial / Business litigation (including breach of contract).
  • Mediation services.
  • Complex multi-party litigation.
  • Business and Real Estate Disputes.
  • Construction litigation.
  • Landlord / Tenant disputes.
  • Business torts including fraud and misrepresentation.
  • Personal Injury Litigation.
  • Appellate brief writing and appellate argument.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution.
  • Medical Malpractice (prosecution and defense).
  • Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act claims.
  • Negligence.
  • Breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Administrative Law (including representing health care professionals before boards and the State Office of Administrative Hearings “SOAH”).
  • Criminal law defense (federal court).
  • Ad valorem (property) tax disputes.
  • Insurance / Disability disputes and litigation.
  • Real estate title examination and related issues.
  • Real estate contracts and leases.
  • Foreclosures.
  • Will preparation.
  • Creditor's rights.

Interactive computer service not liable for posted defamatory content

To prove a claim or cause of action for defamation under Texas law a plaintiff must prove that the defendant: (1) published a statement; (2) that was defamatory concerning the plaintiff; (3) while acting either with actual malice (if the plaintiff was a public official or public figure) or negligence (if the plaintiff was a private individual) regarding the truth of the statement.  However as we see in the recent April 29, 2010 court opinion from the Beaumont Court of Appeals in Milo v. Martin, applicable federal law can eliminate a state law defamation cause of action.  In the Milo case the defendant maintained a website, which permitted third parties to post comments.  Anonymous user comments in the guest book section of the defendant’s web site were considered defamatory by the plaintiffs and the plaintiffs filed suit against the interactive computer service, however the Beaumont court of appeals held that the federal Communications Decency Act of 1996 (47 U.S.C. § 230) operated to protect interactive computer services from suits based on an injury caused by the computer service provider’s making third party content publically available on the internet (absent evidence that the computer service provider was the information content provider, with respect to the posts containing the defamatory content).  The Beaumont court however did leave open the possibility that a cause of action could still exist for intentional infliction of emotional distress (which would require proof that: (1) a person acted intentionally or recklessly, (2) the conduct was extreme and outrageous, (3) the conduct caused the plaintiff’s emotional distress and (4) the emotional distress was severe).

Background image courtesy of Akumar