Mitchell v. Hood

614 Fed.Appx. 137 (5th Cir. 2015)


Mitchell (P) lost a state judicial election to Ernestine 'Teena' Anderson-Trahan. Judge Anderson-Trahan won by 266 votes. The day before the polls opened 3,000 residents received a postcard that accused P of violently attacking an 'innocent pregnant woman.' The postcard indicated that it was 'Paid for by B. Hood.' P sued Hood (D) on four claims of 'abuse of right.” D denied the allegations and asserted the affirmative defense that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over him. D filed a third-party complaint and impleaded Judge Anderson-Trahan and Kelvin McClinton as third-party defendants. D asserted that he had no interest in the judicial election and no knowledge of, or participation in, the creation or distribution of the postcard. D impleaded Judge Anderson-Trahan and McClinton under Rule 14 for fraud, misrepresentation, abuse of right, and injury to personal and professional reputation. P amended her complaint to add McClinton. P did not add Judge Anderson-Trahan as a defendant. P's amended complaint stated that 'McClinton has admitted to D that . . . Anderson-Trahan was associated with the design, printing, and/or mailing of the postcard.' Judge Anderson-Trahan moved to dismiss D's claims under Louisiana's anti-SLAPP law. P argued that Judge Anderson-Trahan was not entitled to invoke Article 971 because Judge Anderson-Trahan was not a proper third-party defendant. P argued that Judge Anderson-Trahan could not invoke Article 971 because Judge Anderson-Trahan denied making the statements in the postcard and because Article 971 can only be invoked by a defendant who embraces the relevant speech. D opposed the motion. 

The district court ordered limited discovery. Judge Anderson-Trahan contends that limited discovery is improper and moved to bring this interlocutory appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b).