Vic Mignogna's Civil Case Against Funimation, Voice Actress Monica Rial, Ron Toye Dismissed
posted on by Alex Mateo
Judge John P. Chupp dismissed all of voice actor Vic Mignogna's case against voice actress Monica Rial, Rial's fiance Ron Toye, and Funimation in Tarrant County District Court on Friday. The court dismissed Mignogna's five remaining claims against the defendants, for a total of 17 dismissed claims between Friday's ruling and a ruling on September 6. Mignogna's remaining case had alleged that Rial and Toye engaged in defamation and civil conspiracy against the Fullmetal Alchemist voice actor and that anime licensing company Funimation defamed him.
The court found that all causes of action against all defendants asserted by Mignogna were based on, related to, or were in response to the defendants' right to free speech, the right to petition, or the right to association under the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA), the state's measure to protect against SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) lawsuits. In addition, communications related to Mignogna's causes of action related to a public concern, and the communications involved allegations of conduct by Mignogna that relate to health and safety, environmental, economic, or community well-being. The court also found that Mignogna had failed to establish, by clear and specific evidence, a prima facie case for each element of defamation, tortious interference with existing contracts, tortious interference with prospective business relations, and civil conspiracy against all defendants, as well as vicarious liabilty against Funimation.
When a defendant successfully invokes the TCPA during a lawsuit, the plaintiff must pay court costs, attorney fees, and other expenses resulting from defending against the lawsuit. The court must also issue a fine to the plaintiff that is "sufficient to deter the party who brought the legal action from bringing similar actions..."
The defendants will be able to submit evidence to the court to support claims for attorney fees, costs, and other expenses and an appropriate sanction against Mignogna within the next 30 days.
Judge Chupp dismissed all of Vic Mignogna's case against voice actress Jamie Marchi on September 6 as well as Mignogna's case of tortious interference of existing contracts and tortious interference of business relations allegations against Rial and Toye on September 6. Chupp also dismissed Mignogna's allegations that Funimation participated in tortious interference and civil conspiracy on September 6.
Mignogna was represented by Ty Beard of Beard Harris Bullock Hughes and An Lee Hsu of the Martinez Hsu law firm. Marchi was represented by Sam Johnson of Johnson Sparks. Rial and Toye were represented by J. Sean Lemoine and Ethan Minshull of Wick Phillips, Casey S. Erick of Cowles & Thompson, and Andrea Perez of Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal. Funimation was represented by John Volney of Lynn Pinker Cox & Hurst.