Judge Chupp, the judge assigned to Dragon Ball Super: Broly voice actor Vic Mignogna’s ongoing defamation lawsuit in Tarrant County, Texas, has ruled to dismiss “with prejudice” the remaining claims of defamation against Funimation, Monica Rial, and Ron Toye and a claim of conspiracy against Rial and Toye.
On October 4th, Judge Chupp ordered that the Motions to Dismiss Under the Texas Citizens Participation Act filed by the respective defendants be granted, in an aptly named Order Granting Defendants’ Funimation Productions, LLC’s Motion to Dismiss Under the TCPA, Monica Rial and Ron Toye’s Motion to Dismiss Under the TCPA, and Jamie Marchi’s Motion to Dismiss Under the TCPA. In his ruling, Judge Chupp noted that “The TCPA shall be construed liberally to effectuate its purpose and intent fully” and thus fully protected the defendants under the act and that the defendants’ actions related to a matter of “public concern”:
“The Court FINDS that Defendants have shown by a preponderance of the evidence that all causes of action against all Defendants asserted by Plaintiff Mignogna are based on, relate to, or are in response to the Defendant’s right to free speech, the right to petition, or the right to association under the TCPA.
Additionally, the Court FINDS that Defendants have shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the communications related to Plaintiffs causes of action relate to a public concern, and the communications involve allegations of conduct by Plaintiff that relate to health and safety, environmental, economic or community well-being.”
The order also states that Mignogna “has failed to establish, by clear and specific evidence a prima facie case for each element” of his claims of defamation, tortious interference with existing contracts, tortious interference with prospective business relations, civil conspiracy and vicarious liability against the defendants.
The defendants now have 30 days to “file their request for fees, costs, expenses, and appropriate sanctions.” Though the option to file an appeal remains a possibility, how Mignogna will proceed is currently unknown.