Bleeding Cool has repeatedly covered the legal case between Comicsgate comic book creator and publisher Richard Meyer and comic book writer, editor and publisher Mark Waid. Charges of defamation, both online and at a comic convention in Houston and regarding tortious interference over Antarctic Press' decision to drop the publication of Meyers' Jawbreakers graphic novel were made against Meyer by Waid, and opposed in full by Waid. But the first legal judgments that have come down have not been over the merits of the case, but whether or not the courts in question have the jurisdiction to try the case in question.
When we last left the court case between Mark Waid and Richard Meyer, the court had ruled that some of Meyer's claims would be dismissed for jurisdiction reasons but that others would continue to be tried. The remaining claims regarded Meyer's claims of tortious interference with a contract and Meyer's defamation claims arising from Waid's statements made at a comic convention in Houston, Texas.
The court ruled that both parties, Richard Meyer and Mark Waid should explore alternative dispute resolutions and that any motions to dismiss claims should be filed. Earlier this year, it was confirmed that all settlement offers had been made ( I understand Waid's team, just offered a dollar) but at this time the parties did not believe this case is a good candidate for alternative dispute resolution.
The court did, however, allow Mark Waid added time to file a Texas Citizens Participation Act Motion, until late November. The TCPA, also known as the Texas Anti-SLAPP statute, was created with the purpose to encourage and safeguard the constitutional rights of citizens to petition, speak freely, and associate freely, without fear of retaliatory lawsuits intended to restrict their ability to exercise their first amendment rights. It allows an individual or organization facing a lawsuit the ability to quickly resolve the issue. The Texas legislature created the TCPA to defend individuals and organizations from any lawsuit that impinges on their constitutional rights to petition, association, and free speech.
The law may be changing in this regard however, which is why Waid asked for – and got – extra allowance time to file. With further court delays from the pandemic, this means the case will not be over for some time yet, for either Mark Waid or Richard Meyer. As for why the Waid team has continued to focus on jurisdiction grounds, if the case goes straight to trial, the most they can hope for is to have the charges dismissed. A ruling in their favour on jurisdiction, however, opens up the possibility of additional remedies beyond that. But that, again, is a long way off.