Decision in Local Church/Harvest House case

The following is quoted from the Opinion issued January 5, 2006 in the Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas in the case of a lawsuit brought against two authors and the publisher of their book – the Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions – by the Local Church/Lord’s Recovery Movement, which theologically is a cult of Christianity.

For the background on this case, see:

Questions and Answers about The Local Church’s Lawsuit Against Harvest House Publishers and Authors John Ankerberg and John Weldon

Harvest House Publishers and Authors John Ankerberg and John Weldon to Appeal Texas Court Summary Judgment Opinion Regarding Local Church/Living Stream Ministry Lawsuit

Harvest House and Authors Address Newest Allegations from The Local Church and Living Stream Ministry

O P I N I O N
This is a libel suit brought by a church against a publisher and two authors after the church was included in a book about ‘religious cults,’ as that term is defined in the book. The publisher and authors moved for summary judgment, which the trial court denied. This interlocutory appeal followed. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. – 51.014(b) (Vernon Supp. 2005). Because we agree that the passages in the book that refer to the church are not, as a matter of law, defamatory, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and render judgment that the church take nothing from the publisher and authors.

[...]

CONCLUSION
Because the allegedly libel statements are not defamatory, as a matter of law, we sustain the publisher and authors’ first issue on appeal. Accordingly, we need not address the remaining issues and decline to do so.

We reverse the judgment of the trial court and render judgment that the church take nothing from the publisher and authors.

NO. 01-04-00231-CV Opinion issued January 5, 2006 in the Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas

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