Monica Rial, Ron Toye, Jamie Marchi, Funimation File Motion to Dismiss Vic Mignogna's Appeal
posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Voice actresses Monica Rial, Jamie Marchi, Rial's fiance Ron Toye, and Funimation filed a motion to dismiss voice actor Vic Mignogna's appeal for review of the Tarrant County District Court's decision to dismiss Mignogna's claims against the defendants. Mignogna filed the appeal on October 24.
The motion argues that the Tarrant County District Court only has jurisdiction on appeals for final judgement. Due to the original order granting the motion to dismiss Mignogna's claims requiring the defendants to submit evidence to the court to support claims for attorney fees, costs, and other expenses, the order is not final. In addition, the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code does not provide for an appeal of the order.
A hearing to decide the attorney fees, costs, and other expenses owed by Mignogna is set for November 21. Judge John P. Chupp will oversee the hearing.
Judge Chupp of the Tarrant County District Court dismissed 17 of Mignogna's claims between two separate rulings on September 6 and October 4. 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..."
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 is 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.