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Opinion 683

Question Presented

Does a lawyer violate the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct by making statements to the news media about a case pending on appeal when the lawyer criticizes the opponent’s litigation tactics and reiterates the misconduct alleged in the underlying complaint? 

Following a summary judgment dismissing all of their claims for trade secret misappropriation, plaintiffs appealed to an intermediate Texas court of appeals and succeeded in reversing the summary judgment.  Defendants filed a petition for review with the Texas Supreme Court in hopes of reinstating the summary judgment. 

While the case was pending in the Texas Supreme Court, the plaintiffs’ lawyer made statements to the news media that the filing of the petition for review is consistent with defendants’ litigation strategy to “delay at all costs so their misconduct is never brought before a jury.”  The plaintiffs’ lawyer also stated that the defendants “brazenly stole trade secrets worth millions of dollars from my clients and are now just as brazenly trying to take this case away from a Texas jury.”  The statements of the plaintiffs’ lawyer were widely published by the media. 

Bluebook Citation

Tex. Comm. On Professional Ethics, Op. 683 (2019)