Appeal from the 152nd District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Case No. 2018-55787
consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Landau and
Beth Landau Justice
the second interlocutory appeal Thang Bui and Monique Nguyen
have brought to challenge rulings made by the trial court in
a defamation suit brought against them by Maya Dangelas.
Their first interlocutory appeal challenged the trial
court's denial of their motion to dismiss Dangelas's
suit under the Texas Citizens Participation
After concluding that Dangelas met her burden to make a prima
facie showing that Bui and Nguyen's Facebook posts about
her were defamatory and made with malice, we affirmed the
denial of their TCPA motion. 
second interlocutory appeal challenges the temporary
injunction issued against Bui and Nguyen that required them
to delete existing Facebook posts if they either (1)
"encourag[ed] that violence be inflicted on [Dangelas]
or her family" or (2) provided Dangelas's
"address or the addresses of her family members."
The temporary injunction states that it issued "to
preserve the status quo between the parties pending a trial
on the merits" and to protect Dangelas's right to,
among other things, "physical safety."
issues, Bui and Nguyen contend the trial court abused its
discretion in issuing the temporary injunction. The thrust of
their complaint is expressed in the following statement from
their appellate brief: "Damages, and not prospective
injunctive relief, serve as the constitutionally permitted
deterrent in defamation actions." Here, though, the
trial court's injunctive order did not grant prospective
injunctive relief. And there was evidence of concerns about
physical harm in response to the Facebook posts that
supported returning the parties to the status quo until the
defamatory nature of the posts could be litigated.
the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting the
temporary injunction, we affirm.
temporary injunction preserves the status quo of
litigation's subject matter pending trial on the merits.
Butnaru v. Ford Motor Co., 84 S.W.3d 198, 204 (Tex.
2002); Walling v. Metcalfe, 863 S.W.2d 56, 57 (Tex.
1993). A temporary injunction is an extraordinary remedy and
does not issue as a matter of right. Butnaru, 84
S.W.3d at 204; Walling, 863 S.W.2d at 57. To obtain
a temporary injunction, the applicant must plead and prove
three specific elements: (1) a cause of action against the
defendant; (2) a probable right to the relief sought; and (3)
a probable, imminent, and irreparable injury in the interim.
Butnaru, 84 S.W.3d at 204; Walling, 863
S.W.2d at 57. An injury is irreparable if the injured party
cannot be adequately compensated in damages or if the damages
cannot be measured by any certain pecuniary standard.
Butnaru, 84 S.W.3d at 204. Whether to grant or deny
a temporary injunction is within a trial court's sound
discretion. Id. A reviewing court will reverse an
order granting injunctive relief if the trial court abused
its discretion. Id.; Walling, 863 S.W.2d at
the Status Quo was Before or After Bui and Nguyen's Posts
temporary injunction does not determine the rights of the
parties or the merits of their claims but, instead, merely
preserves the status quo until those rights may be determined
upon final trial on the merits. Butnaru, 84 S.W.3d
at 204; City of San Antonio v. Hamilton, 180 S.W.
160, 162 (Tex. Civ. App.-San Antonio 1915, no writ). The
status quo is defined as the last actual, peaceable,
noncontested status that preceded the pending controversy.
In re Newton, 146 S.W.3d 648, 651 (Tex. 2004).
"If an act of one party alters the relationship between
that party and another, and the latter contests the action,
the status quo cannot be the relationship as it exists after
the action." Benavides Indep. Sch. Dist. v.
Guerra, 681 S.W.2d 246, 249 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 1984,
writ ref'd n.r.e.); Layton v. Ball, 396 S.W.3d
747, 753 (Tex. App.-Tyler 2013, no pet.).
Nguyen argue that the moment in time that should be
considered the status quo is after they published their
Facebook posts, meaning that a temporary injunction could not
require the parties to return to positions that pre-dated
publication of posts about Dangelas on Facebook. This is
similar to the argument rejected in Layton.
Layton, the owners of a shooting range challenged an
injunction order that restricted their operation of the
shooting range, arguing that the status quo was the ongoing
operation of the business because it was already in operation
when nearby homeowners filed suit to close it. 396 S.W.3d at
754. The shooting range owners' argument erroneously
"presupposes that the activity conducted on the date
suit was filed necessarily controls the status quo
determination." Id. Instead, "the status
quo is the last actual, peaceable, noncontested status that
preceded the controversy." Id. Just because it
may have taken time "before the danger became
apparent" and suit was brought, the delay does "not
necessarily fix the status quo on the date suit was
filed." Id. On appeal, the reviewing court held
that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in
determining that "the last actual, peaceable,
noncontested status that preceded the controversy was prior
to the property's use as a shooting range."
Id. Similarly, here, the last actual, peaceable,
noncontested status that preceded the controversy between Bui
and Nguyen on the one hand and Dangelas on the other was
before Bui and Nguyen posted inflammatory accusations about
Dangelas on Facebook that evoked responsive posts threatening
violence against Dangelas.
Nguyen admit they have never met Dangelas. Their connection
to her is limited to their having researched her on the
internet, developed theories about her political and
ideological beliefs and family dynamics, and then espoused
those theories online, accusing her of being a Viet Cong
operative funneling communist money into the United States to
bribe locals, support communist causes, and harm the local
Vietnamese-American refugee population. There was peace-in
fact, zero connection-between the parties before Bui and
Nguyen published their accusations online. And it was their
posts that prompted the safety concerns for Dangelas and her
children as threats of bodily harm filled their replies.
Here, the status quo was the period before Bui and
Nguyen's posts were uploaded onto ...