Rudkin v. Roger Beasley Imports, Inc. (USA)

Bradley Rudkin is a transgender man who recently filed a lawsuit against former employer Roger Beasley Imports, alleging “sex discrimination in violation of Title VII, breach of contract, invasion of privacy–public disclosure of private facts, invasion of privacy–intrusion on seclusion, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

The lawsuit was filed in the Travis County District Court shortly after Roger Beasley terminated Rudkin’s employment, and was removed to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. In response, Roger Beasley filed a motion to dismiss Rudkin’s invasion of privacy claims, asserting “those allegations constitute a legal action that is based on, or relates to or is in response to Defendant’s exercise of the right to free speech on a matter of public concern” under the Texas Citizen’s Participation Act (“TCPA”).

On December 28, U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew W. Austin issued a recommendation to U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, finding the TCPA does not apply in federal court, and therefore the motion to dismiss should be denied. Judge Austin additionally notes that even if the TCPA did apply to this case, it “defines a matter of public concern in detail, and requires that it be an issue related to ‘(A) health or safety; (B) environmental, economic, or community well-being; (C) the government; (D) a public official or public figure; or (E) a good, product or service in the marketplace.'” Judge Austin concludes that “Rudkin’s gender identity fits within none of these categories” and therefore the motion to dismiss should still be denied. The recommendation now goes to Judge Yeakel, who will make a final determination on the motion.