Texas Defamation Law Change: Whistle-blowing Parameters

Texas defamation law change whistle blowing
Texas’ libel law has been updated.

Texas journalists and bloggers no longer have to cower in the face of whistle-blowing reports, because legislators have adopted an amendment to the Texas defamation law. From now on, journalists in the Lone Star State can report on corporate whistle-blowing speculations and scandals — without fear of a being slapped with a questionable lawsuit.

Texan Reporters Accused of Defamation on the Regular by Deep Pocketed Parties

All state defamation laws must stick to the framework of the federal standard, but state slander and libel laws tend to feature a twist – a legal accessory that sparkles with regional flair. For example, in stoic, British-emulating Massachusetts, in some instances, a plaintiff can win a defamation lawsuit even if the defendant is telling the truth. And in no-tattle Texas, state defamation laws meant journalists often held back on stories involving whistle blowers, for fear of being hit with a costly – job threatening – defamation lawsuit.

Defamation Bill Approved By Texas Senate: Affects Whistle-blowing Defamation Cases

In 2014, the Supreme Court of Texas made a decision that prompted a law change regarding certain aspects of whistle-blowing defamation cases. Due to the way the law was written, journalists were being found liable for libel, even though their stories were based on solid reporting work; they were being punished, despite engaging in proper due diligence, when their sources got information wrong.

In a way, the previous Texas defamation law was the State’s free speech pink elephant. One of the bill’s authors, Sen. Joan Huffman, articulated the need for the change when she explained: “accuracy in reporting [should be] a defense to libel.”

And from here on out accurate reporting will be an workable defense against defamation in Texas, as the governor signed the bill into law at the end of May.

Speak With A Texas Defamation Lawyer

Though based in Arizona, Kelly / Warner lawyers are licensed to practice in Texas. We have helped hundreds of clients with all manners of online defamation and reputation issues. Contact us to begin the conversation.

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