The original incarnation of the TCPA was widely criticized for broad language that included a wide range of civil litigation. After its amendment, opinions such as CBS Stations Group v. Burns remind that, at its core, the TCPA serves an important role in protecting First Amendment rights; here, a local TV station’s coverage of a bank robbery:
“We conclude Burns failed to present clear and specific evidence that CBS knew or should have known that publication of the photograph in connection with the report on the robbery was false. Further, there is no evidence supporting a conclusion that a photograph obtained from a law enforcement agency after a public–information-act request using the correct name and birth date of the individual would warn a reasonably prudent broadcaster of its defamatory potential.”
No. 05-21-00042-CV (Sept. 27, 2021) (mem. op.). Of special note, the panel includes Justice Ken Molberg, author of Dyer v. Medoc Health Services, 573 S.W.3d 418 (Tex. App.–Dallas 2019, pet denied), which thoroughly reviewed and significantly limited the TCPA’s protection of the right of association, compared to some earlier opinions by other courts of appeal on the topic.