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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Curtiss Pope sued Jacqueline Quebe and Charles Quebe, alleging defamation and tortious interference with a contract. The Quebes filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial court denied. The Quebes then filed this interlocutory appeal from the denial of the motion, and Pope filed a motion to dismiss for want of jurisdiction. Pope is a law enforcement officer with the Texas City Police Department. The Quebes have accused Pope of sexual assault of a minor. The record reflects that prior to the making of these accusation, there was an ongoing personal dispute between Pope and the Quebes. The Quebes allegedly made the accusations to numerous individuals and organizations, including the Texas City Police Chief, the mayor of Texas City, the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office, the Galveston County District Attorney, the Child Protective Services Division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the Texas Attorney General’s Office, and an organization called Justice for Children. To many of these individuals and organizations, the Quebes allegedly provided a copy of a videotape made of Mrs. Quebe interviewing the child in question. According to the court of appeals’ opinion, several of the organizations investigated the allegations, but no charges were ever brought against Pope. Consequently, the Quebes have additionally alleged that various people have conspired to cover-up the sexual abuse allegations. The Quebes also allegedly made the accusations to several media outlets, including at least two newspapers: the Texas City Sun and The Galveston County Daily News. The Sun apparently followed up on the accusations by filing a request with Galveston County under the Open Records Act. According to Mrs. Quebe’s summary judgment affidavit, the Sun ran an article on Oct. 14, 2004, to the effect that the County would not release information in response to the paper’s request under the Open Records Act. The [a]rticle mentioned that a “law enforcement officer is accused of sexual abuse of a child.” The article does not otherwise identify Pope or any other person as being the accused officer. In his summary judgment affidavit, Pope stated: “I am aware of an open records request initiated by the Texas City Sun and/or Galveston Daily News with regard to the allegations made by Appellants.” Pope sued the Quebes for defamation and tortious interference with his employment contract. The Quebes filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing, among other things, that their statements were privileged and protected as free speech under the United States and Texas constitutions. Although, in his petition, Pope alleges that the Quebes made false allegations of sexual abuse to the Sun, among many other individuals and organizations, Pope did not plead any claims based on the publication of the newspaper article. The trial court subsequently denied the Quebes’ motion for summary judgment but did not state the basis for its ruling. The Quebes brought this interlocutory appeal. HOLDING:Dismissed. Under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code �51.014(a)(6), a person who is not a member of the media must meet two requirements before he or she may appeal from the denial of a motion for summary judgment in a defamation action. First, the person’s communication must appear in or be published by the electronic or print media. Second, the motion for summary judgment must be based in whole or in part upon a claim or defense arising under the free speech or free press clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, Article I, �8, of the Texas Constitution, or Chapter 73 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code. In his motion to dismiss, Pope asserts that the Quebes’ communication did not appear in and was not published by the media. The court agrees. The Quebes contend that their communication appeared in the Sun in an article about Galveston County’s refusal to release information pursuant to the Sun’s open records request. Although the court notes that its analysis is hampered because the article does not appear in the record, the court states that the article’s focus appears to be the rejection of the open records request and not the abuse allegation. The information provided by the Quebes amounted to no more than unattributed, nonspecific background information for the article. Thus, their communication did not appear in and was not published by the media as those phrases are used in �51.014(a)(6). OPINION:Adele Hedges, C.J.; Hedges, C.J., Yates and Guzman, J.J.

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