Former Republican Texas Supreme Court candidate Rick Green (pictured) has filed a libel suit against several defendants alleging he lost the GOP 2010 primary because political activists in his own party and media members “crossed the line” in attacking his character during the course of his campaign. In his April 11 original petition, filed in Hays County’s 207th District Court, Green names seven defendants including former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Phillips, who now is a partner in Baker Botts in Austin; Dr. John R. Coppedge; the Texas Tribune; and the Texas Association of Realtors. Among other things, Green alleges in the petition that Phillips and a political action committee run by Coppedge distributed a letter that accused Green, a former member of the Texas House of Representatives, of “several disturbing ethical lapses and lack of judgment” including that he “drew censure” from legislative colleagues for filming a nutritional supplement infomercial in his Capitol office. In the petition, Green disputes that he drew censure and writes that he “gave a short videotaped interview which was later used in an infomercial” in his office. Green alleges the Texas Tribune defamed him by publishing an article on its website that referenced Green as being “baggage-laden” and having a “questionable history,” among other things. Green also alleges the Texas Association of Realtors distributed an e-mail critical of him that contained false information. Edward Watt of Dripping Springs’ Watt Law Firm, who represents Green, says, “What it comes down to is Rick -- as a politician, as a public person -- he knows there is a lot of stuff that he did in the past that is fair game for criticism. But making other stuff up and absolute falsehoods crosses the line and that’s what this lawsuit is about.” Green did not return a telephone call seeking comment. Jim George, a partner in Austin’s George & Brothers who represents all of the defendants in Green v. Phillips, et al., says his clients deny the allegations. “I think that Mr. Green is seriously in error in his allegations,” George says.
-- John Council