Bioethics Blogs

TADA Medical Futility Reaches the Supreme Court of Texas

The Supreme Court of Texas has been asked to rule on an issue relating to the Texas Advance Directives Act.

In March 2014, Bob Deuell was a candidate in the Republican primary for re-election as State Senator, and he drew two challengers. Deuell and challenger Hall were to face each other in the run-off election in May. 

During the previous Texas Legislature, Deuell had authored Senate Bill 303, which was related to advance directives. Texas Right to Life Committee opposed SB 303. During the runoff election season, TRLC entered into a contract to secure the production of a radio advertisement criticizing Deuell for his authorship of SB 303 and urging voters to vote for Hall.

TRTL secured airtime with two radio stations which began airing the advertisement. Deuell’s lawyers sent cease-and-desist letters to the stations, urging that they cease airing the advertisement because it contained false and defamatory statements. 

That same day, the stations notified TRTL that attorneys for Deuell had contacted them and that they were suspending the airing of the advertisements based upon the legal threats made. 

TRTL sued Deuell for tortious interference with contract and sought damages for the expenses it incurred to produce the new advertisement and to buy additional airtime. 

Deuell moved to dismiss the suit pursuant to the Texas Citizen’s Participation Act.  But his motion was denied.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s denial of Deuell’s motion.  Deuell is now seeking review in the Supreme Court.  

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.