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Trial Court Denies Newspaper’s Summary Judgment Motion in Defamation Suit
June 1, 2007
In a highly publicized defamation lawsuit, John Zavitsanos and Joe Sibley successfully defeated a motion for summary judgment brought by a local media defendant. The media defendant, represented by the renown defamation firm of Jackson Walker LLP, argued that the alleged defamatory article was substantially true and that the plaintiff (the son of a prominent local public official) is a limited purpose public figure. The Fort Bend County district court denied the motion for summary judgment. The media defendants have taken an accelerated interlocutory appeal to the 1st District Court of Appeals in Houston. The case presents novel issues of law because the defendants are attempting to broaden the application of the limited purpose public figure doctrine.