Court of Appeals of Texas, Seventh District, Amarillo
Appeal from County Court at Law Number Three Tarrant County,
Texas Trial Court No. 2015-002259-3; Honorable Mike Hrabal,
CAMPBELL, PIRTLE, and PARKER, JJ.
Patrick A. Pirtle Justice
appeal is round two of an Internet defamation suit filed by
Appellee, Amanda Lollar, against Appellant, Mary Cummins.
Lollar is President of Bat World Sanctuary, Inc., a
non-profit corporation located in Mineral Wells, Texas,
dedicated to the rehabilitation of bats. Cummins is a
California resident who champions herself as an animal
advocate and an investigator of animal cruelty.
first defamation suit, which was tried without a jury, Lollar
obtained a multimillion-dollar judgment in actual and
exemplary damages against Cummins. Cummins appealed the
judgment to the Second Court of Appeals. In a lengthy
opinion, that court affirmed the award of actual and
exemplary damages for defamation, affirmed that potion of the
trial court's judgment ordering Cummins to remove from
the Internet the web pages and defamatory statements
specified in the judgment, but reversed that portion of the
judgment permanently enjoining Cummins from making similar
statements in the future, and reversed the award for damages
for breach of contract and attorney's fees. See
Cummins v. Bat World Sanctuary, No. 02-12-00285-CV, 2015
Tex.App. LEXIS 3472, at *36, *90 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth April
9, 2015, pet. denied).
after the Second Court of Appeals issued its opinion, Cummins
resumed posting statements about Lollar and a video with
captions added by Cummins of Lollar performing an episiotomy
on a pregnant bat. Relying on that part of the Second
Court's opinion that reversed the permanent injunction as
being an unconstitutional prior restraint; id. at
*78, Cummins posted, "I am not prohibited from posting
anything on the internet. I will be reposting all of the
videos and photos." Her understanding of the opinion
ignored that portion which provides, "[t]hough
Cummins can be held responsible for any defamatory statements
she may make about Lollar in the future, the trial court
could not issue an order prohibiting her from making
them." Id. (Emphasis added).
days after Cummins began reposting statements, on April 15,
2015, Lollar filed her second defamation suit against
Cummins. This time, Cummins availed herself of legislative
enactments which did not exist at the time of the first suit,
filing a motion to dismiss Lollar's suit pursuant to the
Texas Citizens Participation Act and the Texas Defamation
Mitigation Act. Following a brief hearing at which Cummins
represented herself, the trial court entered an order denying
her motion without specifying a reason. Cummins then filed
this appeal challenging the denial of her motion to
pro se on appeal, Cummins presents six issues
challenging the trial court's order. She asserts the
trial court erred in denying her motion to dismiss on the
following grounds: (1) the Texas Citizens Participation Act
(TCPA); (2) the Texas Defamation Mitigation Act (TDMA); (3) a
lack of clear and convincing evidence that she allegedly
defamed Lollar with malice; (4) Lollar and her attorney,
Randy Turner, committed fraud, forgery, and perjury; (5) the
one-year statute of limitations for defamation had expired;
and (6) the trial court did not have personal or subject
matter jurisdiction. Lollar responded by asserting that the
TCPA was inapplicable to the facts of this case, or
alternatively, by alleging that she had established a prima
facie case for each element of her cause of action by clear
and specific evidence. She further alleged that she had
properly complied with the TDMA and that her suit was brought
within the one-year statute of limitations. By reply brief,
Cummins defends the position she has taken on her issues. We
affirm the trial court's denial of Cummins's motion
founded the Bat World Sanctuary (BWS) in 1994 in Mineral
Wells, Texas, to protect a bat colony and rescue injured
bats. According to Lollar, she and a local veterinarian
worked together to treat and rehabilitate injured bats.
2000, BWS began offering internships for people to learn
about bat rescue and rehabilitation. In June 2010, Cummins
accepted a two-week internship at BWS and entered into an
internship contract with BWS. Cummins left BWS before
completing her internship and returned to California.
with her internship, Cummins sought out information from
government agencies about whether BWS had a permit to operate
and she reported the "less than optimal" conditions
she had witnessed while at BWS to certain local, state, and
federal organizations. She complained that Lollar was
mistreating her dogs and the bats at BWS. She made online
accusations that Lollar failed to treat two dogs for specific
ailments. One of the dogs, who was nineteen years old and in
poor health, was eventually euthanized, an act Cummins
characterized as cruel.
also posted statements about mistreatment of bats that
included extraction of teeth and performing episiotomies
without local anesthesia. While an intern at BWS, Cummins
made a video of Lollar performing an episiotomy on a bat
giving birth. She posted the video with misleading captions
on the Internet, on Twitter, and on her Facebook page. Lollar
acknowledged what the video portrayed but took issue with the
captions that Cummins added which accused Lollar of various
forms of "graphic animal cruelty."
posted statements, videos, and photographs accusing Lollar of
animal cruelty, practicing veterinary medicine without a
license, fraud, violations of laws, rules, regulations, or
standards, and illegal possession of a controlled substance.
Non-criminal accusations further portrayed Lollar as
uneducated and unintelligent. Cummins also posted negative
statements on a blog about Lollar's attorney.
Cummins's postings, Lollar asserted that donations to BWS
had decreased and it was near bankruptcy. She sued Cummins
for defamation and BWS sued for breach of the internship
contract. Following a bench trial at which Cummins
represented herself and at which Lollar and BWS had pro bono
representation, BWS was awarded $10, 000 for breach of
contract plus attorney's fees of $176, 700 and Lollar was
awarded $3, 000, 000 in actual damages for defamation and $3,
000, 000 in punitive damages. The trial court's judgment
ordered that Cummins "immediately and permanently remove
from the internet the following statements" from several
• They breed animals in the facility.
• Pretty ironic for this group to certify Bat World
Sanctuary when the health department told her to leave town
and they had to gut the building and remove her belongings.
• Vet recommended blood and stool tests. Lollar
declined. She just wants empirical therapy. If that [sic]
doesn't work, she wants to euth [sic] the dog. She
refused treatment. When I was at Bat World June 19, 2010 to
June 28, 2010 I saw her use her fingers to pull out one of
the dog's teeth, i.e., oral surgery on dogs.
• The current method she suggests is also inhumane. The
bats die of suffocation. She also forgets to mention that the
drugs she suggests must be used under the direction of a
veterinarian. She doesn't even administer the gas
legally, humanely, or safely.
• He should not be working for free for someone who
commits animal cruelty.
• I doubt he'll be speaking about this embarrassing
little case where he is actually representing someone who
commits animal cruelty and neglect.
• She took the money that came from the dissolution of
Bonnie Bradshaw's group and bought a new silver Honda
Eclipse. That money was supposed to go for animals. This is
what Lollar does with money that is given to Bat World.
• Lollar never even washed her hands before surgery, you
can see dirty finger nails in the photos, no surgical
garments, no mask, hat, nothing. Night and day.
• Just confirmed that Amanda Lollar of Bat World
Sanctuary is illegally obtaining human and animal rabies
vaccinations. . . . Again, breaking the law. I'm amazed
she admitted to having the vaccine and buying it when she is
doing it illegally.
• She does not state that it died from neglect of care.
She also chose to euth [sic] it instead of treating it as her
vet suggested. She'd previously turned down care which
her vet suggested.
• When I was at Bat World she told me the place where
she buys her rabies vaccine thinks she's a doctor.
• Earlier in the year the vet noted the dog had major
dental issues yet she didn't have the vet treat them. You
know how painful it would be to have a mouth full of rotten
teeth? That's animal neglect.
• BREAKING NEWS!!! Amanda Lollar of Bat World Sanctuary
admits in writing that she and Bat World Sanctuary are being
forced to leave Mineral Wells because of all the complaints
to the City and Health Department.
• The dogs rear claws are super long. There is no way
she could stand. . . . She has to drag herself on cement.
• She tells people to use Isoflurane illegally,
inhumanely and unsafely in her book.
• He didn't care that she admitted to illegally
having the human rabies vaccination, admitted to using drugs
not according to the label that she "proudly"
admitted to performing surgery.
• ln the video Lollar takes tweezers and just pulls out
the molars of a conscious bat that is fighting and biting her
while it bleeds. Lollar is proud of this and posted this
video in her book and online. Bat experts know that bats must
be unconscious and intubated to remove molars. Can you
imagine the pain that bat felt?
• Pulling molars out of conscious bats is not
"cutting-edge" though cutting open conscious bats
might fall into that "category." Operating on bats
using the drop anesthesia technique or amputating wings
instead of pinning them is also not ...