In a unanimous decision in Grant v. Pivot Technology Solutions, Ltd., 03-17-00289-CV, 2018 WL 3677634 (Tex. App.—Austin Aug. 3, 2018, no pet. h.), the court of appeals reversed a Travis County district court’s denial of GTS’s motion to dismiss Pivot’s claims under the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA). The appeals court concluded (1) that the TCPA applied to all of Pivot’s claims, and (2) that Pivot had failed to present a prima facie case for its claims.
The court also held that GTS timely filed its TCPA motion to dismiss and that Pivot had waived its argument that the Texas Covenant Not to Compete Act applies by failing to raise it in the trial court.
The court also rejected Pivot’s argument that the TCPA’s commercial speech exemption applied to all of its claims, holding instead that the exemption applies only to a narrow set of Pivot’s claims that involve specific alleged communications with Pivot’s purported customers. Thus, the court of appeals ordered the dismissal of the vast majority of Pivot’s case against GTS.
“The Court’s unanimous opinion represents a significant victory for our client in its ongoing efforts to dismiss Pivot’s meritless claims and shows the TCPA’s broad applicability in commercial disputes,” said Gavin Villareal, an Austin-based Partner who argued the case on behalf of GTS in the court of appeals.
“The court of appeals did precisely what the Texas Supreme Court has repeatedly instructed lower courts to do: read the TCPA broadly and in accordance with its plain text,” said Mr. Villareal.
“The decision is part of an ongoing trend in which Texas’s appellate courts have been reversing trial courts that have rejected the TCPA’s applicability,” added Mr. Villareal.
“GTS is pleased that the court of appeals agreed that virtually all of Pivot’s claims should be dismissed,” said Efren Garcia, GTS’s General Counsel and Vice President of Corporate Development.
The court of appeals remanded the matter to the Travis County district court for a determination of how much Pivot must pay GTS in attorney’s fees and sanctions, as the TCPA mandates.
The Baker Botts team included Gavin Villareal (argued), David Weaver, Tom Phillips, Jennifer Nall, Sherwin Faridifar, Ellen Springer, and former associate Jesse Adland, all from Austin.
GTS (formerly Austin Ribbon & Computer) provides a full range of technology solutions, services, and staffing to support customers’ IT needs. Since 1984, GTS has been the technology partner of choice to government, education and private entities.
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