Three Houston-area middle-school students who face a libel suit because they allegedly posted a video on the social networking site Facebook have each filed answers denying the allegations in the plaintiff’s petition. In separate answers filed on July 18, the three students ask 157th District Judge Randy Wilson of Houston to dismiss the suit, enter a judgment that the plaintiff take nothing, and assess all costs against the plaintiff. On June 14, Houston lawyer Jason M. Medley, as next friend to his daughter, filed the libel suit against the three students alleging they made “several statements alleging untrue facts, as well as other suggestive, derogatory, inflammatory and sexually explicit statements and gestures” regarding his daughter in a video that was posted on Facebook on May 18. In Medley a/n/f S.M., a Minor v. Moore, et al., the plaintiff alleges statements published in the video are defamatory and false and the defendants were acting with actual malice. The actions of the defendants constitute libel per se, negligence and defamation, she alleges. She seeks unspecified actual damages, costs and interest, and a “permanent injunction enjoining the Defendants from further threatening or defaming” her. The plaintiff, a minor, is identified in the petition as “S.M.” and in an attached cease-and-desist letter as Medley’s daughter. Medley, a shareholder in O’Donnell, Ferebee, Medley & Keiser in Houston, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. Two of the answers were filed pro se by relatives as the defendants’ next friend. Kevin Walters, an attorney with Chaffee McCall in Houston who represents the third defendant, did not immediately return a telephone call. Texas Lawyer is not identifying the plaintiff and the defendants because they are minors.
-- Brenda Sapino Jeffreys