In re Lipsky (Opinion)Annotate this Case
Steven Lipsky, concerned that an oil and gas operator close to his property (“Range”), had some responsibility for contaminating his ground water, complained about the gas in his well to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Texas Railroad Commission, and the media. Alisa Rich, an environmental consultant, confirmed the presence of gases in the well. The Railroad Commission concluded that Range’s operations were not the source of the contamination. Lipsky and his wife, Shyla, sued Range, alleging negligence. Range counterclaimed against the Lipskys and filed a third-party claim against Rich, alleging defamation, among other claims. The trial court dismissed the Lipskys’ claims as an improper collateral attack on the Commission’s determination and declined to dismiss Range’s claims against the Lipskys and Rich. The court of appeals granted mandamus relief in part, concluding that the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) required the dismissal of Range’s claims against Shyla and Rich but did not require dismissal of Range’s claims against Lipsky. Both Range and Lipsky sought mandamus relief in the Supreme Court. The Court denied relief, holding (1) the trial court properly considered circumstantial evidence when considering Lipskys’ motion to dismiss under the TCPA; and (2) the court of appeals did not err in its disposition of the proceedings below.