Dr. Rodney A. Smolla, Dean and George Allen Professor of Law and the University of Richmond School of Law, submitted an amicus brief to the Texas Supreme Court urging the justices to reconsider the Texas Court of Appeals decision in The Local Church et al v. Harvest House et al. Dr. Smolla’s two-volume set Law of Defamation is considered one of the standard resources on the subject. Dr. Smolla argued that:
- The Court of Appeals’ invocation of the Establishment Clause should be reviewed;
- The Court of Appeals departed from the appropriate defamatory meaning analysis by failing to evaluate the word cult in the context of the work as a whole;
- The Court of Appeals failed to consider the rule of ambiguity; and
- The Court of Appeals’ resolution of the “of an concerning” issue hinged on a misapplication of the group libel doctrine.
PDF of Amicus Brief from Rodney A. Smolla (Texas Supreme Court)