On Dec. 12, all of the defendants in former Republican Texas Supreme Court candidate Rick Green’s libel suit filed their 26-page first amended response to the petition. Back in April, Green filed Green v. Phillips, et al. in Hays County's 207th District Court, 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. The 23-page petition 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. Green alleges in the petition that the defendants published false statements about him in, variously, a letter, an article or an email. As is common in libel suits, the defendants respond that the information about Green was “true” or “substantially true.” But taking it a step further, the first amended response states: “Green alleges that these statements created a false and defamatory impression of the events. Defendants will show the contrary. . . .” The first amended response alleges, “The facts . . . . . were much worse than the statements published by the Defendants.” Jim George (pictured), a partner in Austin's George & Brothers who represents all of the defendants in Green v. Phillips, et al., says he also expects to file a summary judgment motion seeking dismissal of Green’s petition after depositions are taken in the case. But for now, the defendants are just laying out their truth-as-a-defense argument in detail, George says. Robert Bozelli, an associate with Dripping Springs' Watt Law Firm who represents Green says, “Mr. Green is reviewing the answer, and further comment will be provided by request, and the lawsuit is going forward.” Green, of Dripping Springs Green & Associates, did not return a call for comment.
-- John Council