ACCEPTED

07-16-00320-CV
SEVENTH COURT OF APPEALS
AMARILLO, TEXAS
12/19/2016 10:20:43 PM
Vivian Long, Clerk

No. 07-16-00320-CV

SEVENTH COURT OF APPEALS
AT AMARILLO
TIMOTHY CASTLEMAN and
CASTLEMAN CONSULTING, LLC,
Appellants,
v.
INTERNET MONEY LIMITED and
KEVIN O’CONNOR,
Appellees.

On Appeal from the 237th District Court
of Lubbock County
Trial Court No. 2016-519,740
CASTLEMAN’S REPLY BRIEF

Leif A. Olson
State Bar No. 24032801
leif@olsonappeals.com
THE OLSON FIRM, PLLC
PMB 188
4830 Wilson Road, Suite 300
Humble, Texas 77396
(281) 849-8382
Oral argument requested

Counsel for Appellants

Table of Contents
Table of Contents ............................................................................................ 1
Index of Authorities ........................................................................................ 2
Issue Presented ................................................................................................. 4
Glossary............................................................................................................. 4
Introduction and Summary of Argument ..................................................... 5
Argument: O’Connor didn’t meet his burden to furnish prima facie evidence of
defamation because Castleman’s statements are protected speech. The trial court erred
in denying the motion to dismiss. ............................................................................ 6
A. The commercial-speech exception doesn’t apply, and even if it
did, O’Connor failed the requirement that he show it. ................... 6
1. The commercial-speech exception applies to attempts to
win clients, not complaints about suppliers. ............................... 7
2. O’Connor had the burden to show that the exception
applies, and he introduced no evidence of it. ............................ 11
B. But the Court doesn’t have to get that far because O’Connor
still hasn’t met his burden to show a prima facie case. .................. 12
1. O’Connor still misrepresents the facts. ...................................... 12
2. Post-mess-up changes to the instructions are irrelevant to
whether O’Connor messed up the instructions. ....................... 13
3. There is still no evidence of falsity. ............................................ 14
C. Castleman is entitled to his fees and expenses, and O’Connor’s
contrary argument directly contradicts the Supreme Court. ......... 16
D. O’Connor’s remaining complaints can be disregarded. ................. 18
Conclusion and Prayer .................................................................................. 18
Certificate of Compliance ............................................................................. 19
Certificate of Service...................................................................................... 19

1

Index of Authorities
Cases
Austin v. Kroger Texas L.P.
465 S.W.3d 193 (Tex. 2015) ...................................................................... 9
Backes v. Misko
486 S.W.3d 7 (Tex. App. –Dallas 2015, pet. denied) ............................. 5
Beaver County., Okla., Bd. of Commrs. v. Amarillo Hospital Dist.
835 S.W.2d 115 (Tex. App. – Amarillo 1992, no writ) ........................ 13
Bentley v. Bunton
94 S.W.3d 561 (Tex. 2002) ............................................................... 10, 11
Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Dallas, Inc. v. BH DFW, Inc.
402 S.W.3d 299 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2013, pet. denied) ........................ 8
Combined Law Enforcement Assn. of Texas v. Sheffield
No. 03-13-00105-CV
(Tex. App. – Austin Jan. 31, 2014, pet. denied) ................................... 13
Grohman v. Kahlig
18 S.W.3d 882 (Tex. 2010) ...................................................................... 10
Hancock v. Variyam
400 S.W.3d 59 (Tex. 2013) ...................................................................... 11
Hicks v. Group & Pension Administrators, Inc.
473 S.W.3d 518 (Tex. App. – Corpus Christi 2015, no pet.) ................ 5
Kinney v. BCG Attorney Search, Inc.
No. 03-12-00579-CV, 2014 WL 1432012
(Tex. App. – Austin April 11, 2014, pet. denied) ................................... 5
Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co.
497 U.S. 1 (1990) ...................................................................................... 11
Miller Weisbrod, LLP v. Llamas-Soforo
No. 08-12-00278-CV, __ S.W.3d __, 2014 WL 6679122
(Tex. App. – El Paso Nov. 25, 2014, no pet.). ....................................... 7

2

NCDR, Inc. v. Mauze & Bagby, PLLC
745 F.3d 742 (5th Cir. 2014). ................................................................6, 7
New Times, Inc. v. Isaacks
146 S.W.3d 144 (Tex. 2004) .................................................................... 11
Newspaper Holdings, Inc. v. Crazy Hotel Assisted Living, Ltd.
416 S.W.3d 71
(Tex. App. – Houston [1st Dist.] 2013, pet. denied) ................ 3, 4, 6, 8
Old Dominion Branch No. 496, Natl. Assn. of Letter Carriers v. Austin
418 U.S. 264 (1974) .................................................................................. 11
Ragsdale v. Progressive Voters League
801 S.W.2d 880 (Tex. 1990) .................................................................... 13
Schimmel v. McGregor
438 S.W.3d 847 (Tex. App. – Houston [1st Dist.] 2014, pet. denied). 5
Sullivan v. Abraham
488 S.W.3d 294 (Tex. 2016) .................................................................... 13
Texas Trunk R. Co. v. Ayres
18 S.W. 684 (Tex. 1892) ............................................................................ 9
Whisenhunt v. Lippincott
474 S.W.3d 30 (Tex. App. – Texarkana 2015, no pet.) ......................... 5
Statutes
TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE § 27.001....................................................... 4
TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE § 27.005..................................................... 10
TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE § 27.009..................................................... 13
TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE § 27.010....................................................... 4
Rules
TEX. R. EVID. 407(a)........................................................................................ 9

3

Issue Presented
A customer posted online about his experience with a
service provider. The post described their interactions
and the provider’s breach of their contract, opined on
the provider’s performance, and suggested that others
avoid the provider. The provider asserts that the post
was defamatory because he read the parties’ contract differently.
Did the trial court err in denying the customer’s motion
to dismiss under the Texas Citizens Participation Act?
Glossary
Castleman

Appellants Timothy Castleman and
Castleman Consulting, LLC

CR

Clerk’s record

O’Connor

Appellees Kevin O’Connor and
Internet Money Limited

1SCR

First supplemental clerk’s record

2SCR

Second supplemental clerk’s record

4

Introduction and Summary of Argument
O’Connor’s brief is an extended “nuh-uh” that addresses only one of
Castleman’s points in any depth and that misrepresents crucial parts of
its arguments. It repeats misstatements that Castleman went out of his
way to correct with no hint that Castleman had done so. It repeats misinterpretations that Castleman went out of his way to address with no
hint that Castleman had done so. It ignores page upon page of argument
in favor of repeating those misstatements and misinterpretations. And it
misrepresents the state of the law multiple times—closing with a misstatement of the law that the Supreme Court addressed and rejected six
months before O’Connor filed his brief.
The long and the short of it is this: The commercial-speech exception
doesn’t apply because Castleman wasn’t speaking to try to win customers
for himself; O’Connor asks the Court to become the only one in the nation that would read the exception that way. O’Connor didn’t meet his
burden to establish a prima facie case that Castleman’s statements were
false. His entire case for falsity is that he followed Castleman’s instructions, but neither Castleman’s instructions nor Castleman’s assistant gave
the directions that O’Connor claims, and he introduced no evidence that
they might have meant something else. Nor could he have established a
case of falsity: He didn’t address Castleman’s statements in context or
address Castleman’s right to speak hyperbolically.

5

Castleman established that O’Connor’s lawsuit is based on his right
to speak. O’Connor didn’t introduce clear and specific evidence below
that would allow him to win a claim for defamation, and he can’t describe now how his evidence meets that test. Castleman’s speech isn’t
excepted from the protections of the Texas Citizens Participation Act.
Even if that had been a possibility, O’Connor introduced no evidence
that would have shown it. And O’Connor must misrepresent the law on
recovery of legal expenses to argue that Castleman isn’t entitled to recover them—and Castleman has proven his right to them as a matter of
law.
The Court should reverse the trial court’s judgment, adjudge that
O’Connor’s claims be dismissed, adjudge that Castleman be awarded his
legal expenses, and remand the question of sanctions to the trial court
for determination.
Argument:

O’Connor didn’t meet his burden to furnish prima facie evidence
of defamation because Castleman’s statements are protected
speech. The trial court erred in denying the motion to dismiss.
A. The commercial-speech exception doesn’t apply, and even if it
did, O’Connor failed the requirement that he show it.
O’Connor’s attempts to show that the commercial-speech exception
applies are a failure on substance and on procedure. First, the statute’s
language and the meaning of the cases is clear: Castleman wasn’t speaking about O’Connor in an attempt to win business for himself, so his
6

speech about O’Connor isn’t excepted from the Act’s protection. Second, O’Connor, not Castleman, is the one who must show that the exception applies, and he adduced no evidence that it does.
1. The commercial-speech exception applies to attempts to
win clients, not complaints about suppliers.
Contra O’Connor’s representation, O’Connor’s Br. at 11, there is
nothing “unsettled” about the Act’s commercial-speech exception. Let
there be no mistake that this is radical: He is asking the Court to become
the only one in the nation to hold that speech is exempted from the protection of an anti-SLAPP law if it is a complaint about the services that a
business offers in the marketplace. He is asking, that is, for the Court to
rule that the commercial-speech exception “swallow[s] the protections
the statute intended to afford” to speech about services offered in the
marketplace. Newspaper Holdings, Inc. v. Crazy Hotel Assisted Living, Ltd.,
416 S.W.3d 71, 88–89 (Tex. App. – Houston [1st Dist.] 2013, pet. denied). That is literally unprecedented—Castleman has uncovered not a
single case in a single state or federal court that reaches such a conclusion, and O’Connor cites to support his interpretation the exact same
number of cases: zero.
a. O’Connor can’t distinguish the opinions that say the exception doesn’t apply.
The Act itself protects speech about goods, products, and services
offered in the marketplace. TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE at
7

§ 27.001(3), (7)(v). It doesn’t apply to a lawsuit against a person whose
primary business is selling goods or services if it’s based on a statement
that arises from the sale of goods or services and it is meant to reach potential buyers. Id. at § 27.010(b). Every Texas opinion addressing this
language—many are discussed in the bullets below—has held that it covers only statements made by a speaker who is attempting to win business for himself. That’s the only construction that makes sense; reading
that commercial-speech exception otherwise would destroy the Act’s
ability to protect speech about the marketplace because every review of a
product or provider is meant to reach potential customers. Newspaper
Holdings, 416 S.W.3d at 88–89.
O’Connor attempts to retreat to the “more plain” or “more literal”
meaning of the Act’s language, O’Connor’s Br. at 11–12, but this gets
him nowhere. He cites no cases supporting his “more plain,” “more literal” interpretation of the statute except to attempt to distinguish cases
that Castleman cited. And those attempts fail because even under his interpretation of them, the exemption doesn’t apply:
 Castleman’s statements about O’Connor’s shoddy services
don’t arise out of Castleman’s selling products on the internet
any more than the newspaper’s statements about the assistedliving facility’s shortcomings arose from the sale of newspapers. O’Connor’s Br. at 12, citing Newspaper Holdings.
 Castleman’s complaints about O’Connor’s shoddy services
aren’t attempts to win orders of physical products from his
8

web page any more than complaints about shoddy administrative services were attempts to win patients to an anesthesiology
practice. O’Connor’s Br. at 12–13, citing Whisenhunt v. Lippincott, 474 S.W.3d 30, 42–43 (Tex. App. – Texarkana 2015, no
pet.). (Nor is it “notabl[e]” that August 2015 opinion has been
cited in only one later published opinion.)
 Castleman’s complaints about O’Connor’s shoddy administrative services aren’t evidence that Castleman is engaged in the
business of competing with O’Connor any more than complaints about a quarterhorse breeder are evidence that the
complainer is a competing quarterhorse breeder. O’Connor’s
Br. at 14, citing Backes v. Misko, 486 S.W.3d 7, 21 (Tex. App. –
Dallas 2015, pet. denied).
 For that matter, Castleman’s complaints about O’Connor’s
shoddy administrative services are less evidence that Castleman
was competing with O’Connor than are complaints by a legal
recruiter about his former employer (a legal recruiter) on a
website where former employees can post their impressions of
former employers. O’Connor’s Br. at 15–16, citing Kinney v.
BCG Atty. Search, Inc., No. 03-12-00579-CV, 2014 WL 1432012
(Tex. App. – Austin April 11, 2014, pet. denied).
 Castleman’s complaints about O’Connor’s shoddy administrative services aren’t made to potential buyers of his own physical products any more than lawyers’ legal advice to their clients
is an attempt to win business from the clients’ counterparties.
O’Connor’s Br. at 14–15, citing Hicks v. Group & Pension Admrs., Inc., 473 S.W.3d 518, 531 (Tex. App. – Corpus Christi
2015, no pet.) and Schimmel v. McGregor, 438 S.W.3d 847, 857–
858 (Tex. App. – Houston [1st Dist.] 2014, pet. denied).

9

b. O’Connor must misrepresent opinions to claim that they
support him because those opinions state that the exception doesn’t apply.
And neither case that he claims supports him does a thing for him.
And again, neither case is one that O’Connor cites independently; he
simply repeats citations to cases that Castleman cited and disagrees with
them. Compare O’Connor’s Br. at 16–18 with Castleman’s Br. at 36 fn. 1.
But his discussion of these cases is unlike the cases he attempted to distinguish. With those, he simply can’t make his interpretations do anything but agree with Castleman’s arguments. With these, he makes his
interpretations support his own argument—but he must misrepresent
them to do it.
First, the Fifth Circuit never sided with him. That court never held
that Texas’s “intermediate courts erred” in interpreting the commercialspeech exception. O’Connor’s Br. at 17, citing NCDR, Inc. v. Mauze &
Bagby, PLLC, 745 F.3d 742, 755 (5th Cir. 2014). In fact, the opposite
happened: The Fifth Circuit adopted the same interpretation that every
Texas intermediate court has adopted and cited the same cases that Castleman cites in doing it—statements don’t qualify for the commercialspeech exception unless they are directed at actual or potential customers of the speaker’s business. NCDR, 745 F.3d at 754–755, citing Newspaper Holdings, 416 S.W.2d at 87–90. The Fifth Circuit instead disagreed
with the defendant in that case, a law firm that tried to wriggle out of a
defamation case filed by a dental practice it had publicly accused of per10

forming unnecessary dental work. The firm claimed that it was entitled
to dismissal because it hadn’t misrepresented anything about its own
work or the work of a competitor. NCDR, 745 F.3d at 755. But while
California’s anti-SLAPP law requires that the speech be about the speaker’s or a competitor’s products, Texas’s does not (and Castleman doesn’t
claim that it does). Id. Rather, the Fifth Circuit said exactly what Castleman is saying and predicted that the Texas Supreme Court would do
the same: Speech is exempted from the Act if “the intended audience
was an actual or potential customer.” Id.
Second, the El Paso Court of Appeals has never agreed with him. See
O’Connor’s Br. at 17–18. That court reached the same conclusion that
the NCDR court did: Law firms that solicit clients by accusing individuals of wrongdoing aren’t entitled to have claims against them dismissed
because their speech is attempting to incur a commercial benefit—
attempting to win customers of its services. Miller Weisbrod, LLP v. Llamas-Soforo, No. 08-12-00278-CV, __ S.W.3d __, 2014 WL 6679122 (Tex.
App. – El Paso Nov. 25, 2014, no pet.).
2. O’Connor had the burden to show that the exception applies, and he introduced no evidence of it.
O’Connor’s discussion of the shifting burden of proof in a case under the Act omitted that, as the person seeking the benefit of the commercial-speech exception, it is his burden to prove that the exception
applies. O’Connor’s Br. at 18; Better Bus. Bureau of Metro. Dallas, Inc. v. BH
11

DFW, Inc., 402 S.W.3d 299, 309 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2013, pet. denied),
citing Newspaper Holdings, 416 S.W.3d at 89. This was no mistake: By
omitting a discussion that it is his burden to introduce supporting evidence, he was able to avoid discussing that he introduced none.
O’Connor offers no support for his assertion that Castleman’s
speech was intended to win Castleman customers—an assertion he
didn’t even make until his brief to the Court. The one email he cites to
support his assertion is an email where Castleman describes the impact
that his reviews will have on O’Connor’s, not Castleman’s, business. CR
68, 195. All of the evidence regarding businesses and customers is that
Castleman sells various physical products through his website and that
O’Connor sells virtual-assistant services, or what he describes as “various task-based services.” CR 27 at ¶¶ 2–5; CR 87 at ¶ 2. There is no evidence that Castleman is trying to win customers to his web store or that
he is trying to compete with O’Connor in furnishing virtual-assistant
services. Even if the commercial-speech exception could have applied,
O’Connor has no evidence to show that it does.
B. But the Court doesn’t have to get that far because O’Connor
still hasn’t met his burden to show a prima facie case.
1. O’Connor still misrepresents the facts.
O’Connor still can’t tell the truth about what Castleman told him.
Castleman’s brief reproduced in full both instant-message exchanges
where O’Connor claims that he was told to “double all orders … unless
12

specifically directed otherwise.” Compare Castleman’s Br. at 16, citing CR
44, 51, with O’Connor’s Br. at 4, citing CR 44–45. Castleman’s brief
shows that neither message says anything of the sort. O’Connor doesn’t
address the actual wording of the messages and offers no alternative
reading of them—he just repeats his misrepresentation about their contents.
2. Post-mess-up changes to the instructions are irrelevant to
whether O’Connor messed up the instructions.
O’Connor thinks it important that Castleman refused, both before
the Court and below, to “address O’Connor’s assertions that the ordering instructions had been modified.” O’Connor’s Br. at 6. It isn’t: As
O’Connor acknowledges—as he must acknowledge; the evidence is undisputed—the instructions were changed after he fouled up the orders,
not before. O’Connor’s Br. at 4. The change is irrelevant except for the
innuendo that O’Connor hopes that it casts. Texas jurisprudence has
recognized for more than a century that working to make things better is
no evidence that things weren’t good in the first place. See Austin v. Kroger
Tex. L.P., 465 S.W.3d 193, 214 (Tex. 2015), citing Tex. Trunk R. Co. v.
Ayres, 18 S.W. 684, 685–686 (Tex. 1892); TEX. R. EVID. 407(a).
It is a truism that changing an action causes reactions to change at the
margins; clearing something that was muddy will eliminate mistakes
caused by the mud. But making more clear something that is already clear is
the same as making something more foolproof: Fewer fools will find a
13

way to foul it up. Castleman’s instructions are so clear that they can be
construed as a matter of law. See Castleman’s Br. at 28. O’Connor has no
response except his innuendo—a tacit admission that he cannot distinguish between clear and more clear.
3. There is still no evidence of falsity.
O’Connor can’t win dismissal unless he makes a prima facie case for
each element of defamation by clear and specific evidence, and defamation requires a false statement of fact. TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE
§ 27.005(b); Bentley v. Bunton, 94 S.W.3d 561, 580 (Tex. 2002). O’Connor
bases every claim of defamation upon his assertion that he was following
the instructions correctly. Even in his brief to the Court, he offers no
other basis upon which a reasonable person could find Castleman’s
statements to be false except that he “followed the instructions of Castleman.” O’Connor’s Br. at 24. But he didn’t follow those instructions;
as he acknowledges, he was hired to fulfill orders on Castleman’s behalf
and was given instructions on how to do it. CR 87 at ¶ 2. Those instructions can be given a definite meaning, and there is no question about
what O’Connor did. See Castleman’s Br. at 27–29. There is thus no question that O’Connor breached the contract as a matter of law. See
Grohman v. Kahlig, 18 S.W.3d 882, 887 (Tex. 2010) (standard for finding
breach as a matter of law). The sole basis that O’Connor gives for claiming falsity—that he complied with his obligations—isn’t just insufficient-

14

ly clear or insufficiently specific. That basis is itself false; it is no evidence
at all.
Moreover, O’Connor concedes that the statements aren’t false by refusing to contest the context in which they were made. Establishing falsity requires O’Connor to show that a typical reader of Castleman’s blog
or listener of Castleman’s podcast would have taken a statement, given
the full context in which it was made, as making a verifiable claim to
truth. Bentley, 94 S.W.3d at 580–81; New Times, Inc. v. Isaacks, 146 S.W.3d
144, 154, 160–161 (Tex. 2004); Hancock v. Variyam, 400 S.W.3d 59, 66
(Tex. 2013); Old Dominion Branch No. 496, Natl. Assn. of Letter Carriers v.
Austin, 418 U.S. 264, 284–286 (1974). And hyperbole doesn’t transform
a statement into a false fact. Bentley, 94 S.W.3d at 578; Milkovich v. Lorain
Journal Co., 497 U.S. 1, 20 (1990); see also New Times, 146 S.W.3d at 167.
Castleman described to the trial court the context in which his statements were made and pointed out their hyperbolic nature; he did so
even more thoroughly to the Court. Castleman’s Br. at 30–33; CR 23–24,
225–226.
O’Connor addresses neither context nor hyperbole. He addressed
neither of them below. He neither showed below nor shows now, by
clear and specific evidence, how a regular reader of Castleman’s blog, or
a person who sought out Castleman’s Facebook page, or a regular listener of Castleman’s podcast, would have taken any of Castleman’s statements as actual, verifiable assertions of fact rather than general descrip15

tions or exaggeration for effect. O’Connor complains about each statement by divorcing it from its context and analyzing it in isolation. Consider, for example:
 A one-sentence statement furnishing no support or background that reads in full, “Kevin O’Connor stole thousands of
dollars from me,” on the one hand, and
 “Yup same guy” posted as a reply to a comment on a Facebook post that is itself a follow-up to an earlier Facebook post
that linked to a review that itself ran to 33 paragraphs, on the
other hand.
Might the context cause these two statements to be read differently?
That’s why Castleman’s brief spends time discussing it. Castleman’s Br.
at 31–33. O’Connor thinks that, “This is not an opinion, but an allegation of facts by Castleman that could have been verified” does the job.
O’Connor’s Br. at 22.
O’Connor is wrong. Context matters. He ignores it. His evidence is
thus neither clear nor specific enough to demonstrate falsity, and Castleman’s motion should have been granted.
C. Castleman is entitled to his fees and expenses, and O’Connor’s
contrary argument directly contradicts the Supreme Court.
O’Connor claims that awarding Castleman his attorneys’ fees and expenses is optional because “a trial court ‘may decide that justice and equity do not require that costs, fees, or expenses be awarded….’”
O’Connor’s Br. at 28–29, citing Combined Law Enfmt. Assn. of Tex. v. Shef16

field, No. 03-13-00105-CV (Tex. App. – Austin Jan. 31, 2014, pet. denied). That’s not what the Supreme Court says. Six months before
O’Connor filed his brief, the Supreme Court addressed that very argument—in a case from this Court, no less. The Court had affirmed a trialcourt ruling that awarded only a fraction of the fees requested to a defendant who prevailed on a motion to dismiss under the Act because
“justice and equity” counseled for a lower award. The Supreme Court
reversed because “the TCPA requires an award of ‘reasonable attorney’s
fees’ to the successful movant,” an evaluation that “does not … include
considerations of justice and equity.” Sullivan v. Abraham, 488 S.W.3d
294, 299 (Tex. 2016), citing TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE
§ 27.009(a)(1).
O’Connor’s argument is wrong on its face, and it was wrong when he
made it. And, unlike Sullivan, there was no contest to the amounts Castleman requested, even though O’Connor had the opportunity to contest
them. The Court can thus adjudge that Castleman recover those fees,
expenses, and costs because they have been established as a matter of
law. Ragsdale v. Progressive Voters League, 801 S.W.2d 880, 881–882 (Tex.
1990); Beaver Cnty., Okla., Bd. of Commrs. v. Amarillo Hosp. Dist., 835
S.W.2d 115, 128 (Tex. App. – Amarillo 1992, no writ); cf. Sullivan, 488
S.W.3d at 300.

17

D. O’Connor’s remaining complaints can be disregarded.
Neither of O’Connor’s two remaining complaints merits discussion.
First, both Castleman Consulting and Tim Castleman individually moved
to dismiss and are appellants here. O’Connor acknowledges that the motion to dismiss included both of them; doesn’t contest that he could
have, and didn’t, except to the motion as unclear; and doesn’t contest
that his opposition to the motion addressed both of them. O’Connor’s
Br. at 28; compare Castleman’s Br. at 37–38. Second, the Court knows the
standards of review that apply when a trial court has issued findings of
fact and conclusions of law, particularly when so many of the trial
court’s rulings are being reviewed, as they are here, as a matter of law. See
Castleman’s Br. at 23–26 (discussing issues the Court must review as
matters of law). Whether Castleman phrases his arguments as “direct
challenges” to the trial court’s findings and conclusions, see O’Connor’s
Br. at 12, or as applications of the law to the evidence, the fact that the
Court will be applying the law to the evidence and the standards that it
will use in doing so remain the same.
Conclusion and Prayer
The Appellants pray that the Court reverse the trial court’s judgment,
render judgment dismissing O’Connor’s suit, render judgment for the
Appellants for $20,371.40 in legal costs, and sever and remand the issue
of the amount of mandatory sanctions for consideration by the trial
court.
18

Respectfully submitted,
THE OLSON FIRM, PLLC
/s/ Leif A. Olson
Leif A. Olson
State Bar No. 24032801
leif@olsonappeals.com
PMB 188
4830 Wilson Road, Suite 300
Humble, Texas 77396
Counsel for appellants
Certificate of Compliance
I certify that this Castleman’s Reply Brief was prepared with Microsoft
Word 2010, and that, according to that program’s word-count function,
the sections covered by Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.4(i)(1) contain 3,408 words.
/s/ Leif A. Olson
Certificate of Service
I certify that on December 19, 2016, in accordance with Texas Rule
of Appellate Procedure 9.5(b), I served a copy of this Castleman’s Reply
Brief by e-filing upon:
J. Paul Manning
jpmanning@lubbocklawfirm.com
Anna McKim
amckim@lubbocklawfirm.com
FIELD, MANNING, STONE, HAWTHORNE &
AYCOCK, P.C.
2112 Indiana Avenue
Lubbock, Texas 79410
(806) 792-0810
Counsel for appellees
/s/ Leif A. Olson
19