Texas: Each Publication is a Separate Tort/Statute

David A. Szwak

Texas: Each Publication is a Separate Tort/Statute

Postby David A. Szwak » Fri Sep 30, 2005 9:00 pm

Under the Texas law of defamation, each subsequent publication of a defamatory statement is a new and separate delictual cause of action. A cause of action for defamation accrues immediately upon the occurrence of the tortious act and thus is not appropriate for the continuing violation exception. Procter & Gamble Co. v. Amway Corp., 80 F.Supp.2d 639, 652 [U.S.D.C. S.D. Tex. 1999]. Other courts follow the same rule. See, ex., Flotech Inc. v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours Co., 627 F.Supp. 358, 363 [D. Mass. 1985], aff'd, 814 F.2d 775 [1st Cir. 1987]; Lettis v. United States Postal Service, 39 F.Supp.2d 181, 205 [U.S.D.C. E.D. N.Y. 1998]; Celli v. Shoell, 995 F.Supp. 1337, 1345 [U.S.D.C. Utah 1998]; Porta v. Fee, 1998 U.S.Dist.Lexis 9208, 1998 WestLaw 334355, at *1 [U.S.D.C. E.D. Pa. June 24, 1998].

The Proctor & Gamble court noted that: “P&G does not cite and the Court has not found any Texas cases applying continuing tort to defamation. Rather, in Dickson Constr., Inc v. Fidelity and Deposit Co. of Maryland, 960 S.W.2d 845, 851 [**20] [Tex. App.--Texarkana 1997, no writ], the court held that a disparaging comment made by an employee of the Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland in January of 1993, and any harm that may have ensued to the plaintiff because of that comment did not constitute a continuing tort.”

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