Texas State Representative Todd Hunter recently proposed a bill that, if passed, would require individuals who want to file defamation lawsuits to seek remedies outside of court. The bill has been proposed as a way to ensure that freedom of speech in Texas is not inhibited. It would give news outlets and individuals the opportunities to correct mistakes before those mistakes lead to costly litigation.
House Bill 1759 limits eligibility for filing a defamation lawsuit and for seeking punitive damages in a defamation suit. Under the proposal, an individual or business entity that wishes to bring a defamation lawsuit must have, within one year of the offense, given the offending party a chance to correct, clarify, or withdraw the false content that the plaintiff believed damaged the plaintiff’s reputation.
The proposal would also require media outlets to publish the retraction, clarification, or correction in the same manner in which the questionable information was first made public. This would prevent a media outlet from printing the retraction on the back page or broadcasting the retraction during off hours.
To seek punitive damages in a defamation lawsuit, the plaintiff would be required to have made a written request within 90 days of being made aware of the offending statement.
If you would like to discuss this proposal or a suspected case of business defamation, call Dallas defamation attorney Mazin A. Sbaiti at 214-432-2899.