Defamation lawsuit filed against Carl Tepper, Texas House Dist. 84 candidate

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 11:10 AM CDT|Updated: May. 11, 2022 at 11:27 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A man who appeared in a campaign advertisement for Texas House District 84 candidate David Glasheen has filed a defamation lawsuit against Glasheen’s opponent, Carl Tepper, who calls the lawsuit “frivolous.” This lawsuit comes two weeks before election day.

The lawsuit filed in the 237th Judicial District in Lubbock shows Col. (Ret.) David J. Lewis is seeking monetary relief of more than $250,000, but not more than $1 million.

The lawsuit shows Lewis was the Director of VetStar, the veterans division of StarCare Specialty Health System from 2013 until 2018. He “resigned from StarCare in 2018 of his own volition in order to pursue other endeavors.”

Lewis appeared in one of Glasheen’s campaign advertisements, according to the lawsuit, it stated the following:

“Hi, I’m Retired Air Force Colonel Dave Lewis. As a Veterans Advocate, I’ll work with the Texas Legislature. You know, Carl Tepper has failed our veterans by ridiculing the notion of PTSD, even mocking veteran suicides. Carl Tepper turned his back on our homeless veterans, and I’ve seen the pain caused by his disrespect towards our wounded warriors. We can do better than Tepper. I strongly urge you to vote for former Marine Captain, David Glasheen.”

Voiceover: “It’s time. Vote for David Glasheen.”

Tepper was interviewed during a Lubbock-based regional radio show “Pratt on Texas.” During the interview, according to the lawsuit, he told host Robert Pratt:

“And frankly the guy who’s been making the accusations against me on TV saying, you know, ‘Tepper has failed us’ was actually asked to leave because of misappropriation of funds, allegedly, and some other issues over there at StarCare and VetStar. So, be careful of who you listen to and always consider the source.”

Lewis claims the statement defamed him because it asserted he was asked to leave his job because he misappropriated funds from VetStar and StarCare. He denies the allegations. He also states StarCare did not ask him to resign for any reason.

The lawsuit states Lewis asked Tepper to make a correction, clarification, or retraction multiple times through a variety of mediums.

Lewis also held a news conference and issued a news release calling upon Tepper to take immediate action to “stop the damage caused” by what he said. Because Tepper did not issue a retraction or correction, Lewis filed the suit.

In a news release notifying of this lawsuit, representatives for Matthew Harris Law, PLLC said:

“It would have taken Mr. Tepper less than 30 seconds to correct and retract his defamatory statement and avoid all litigation. Col. (Ret.) Lewis prayed that Mr. Tepper would take advantage of this opportunity. Unfortunately, Mr. Tepper didn’t take any effort to correct his mistake and chose to ignore the problem that he created. Mr. Tepper completely refused to pick up his U.S. Certified Mail and made no effort to reach out to counsel for Col. (Ret.) Lewis. Mr. Tepper presumably received the parcels of First-Class Mail, but he has chosen to ignore them too.”

In March, when the threat of a lawsuit was made, Tepper released a statement saying:

I am running for State Representative on my strong conservative principles and beliefs. My opponent, David Glasheen, is a sue-happy personal injury lawyer, whose family has amassed its fortune from suing businesses in West Texas.

To no one’s surprise, I am now being threatened with a lawsuit for money damages by Glasheen’s chief apologist. Instead of running this race at the ballot box on who can best represent Lubbock in the Texas House, Mr. Glasheen chooses to litigate this at the courthouse and through a proxy. This is not the American way and it’s definitely not the West Texas way. What is David Glasheen going to do when he loses? Sue the voters? That said, with respect to Dave Lewis, I was very clear in my interview with Mr. Pratt that I was referring to allegations and not facts. If Mr. Lewis didn’t hear that, I am sorry he didn’t.

Tepper released a statement late Wednesday morning “regarding the recent defamation lawsuit filed against him by a Glasheen Campaign surrogate:”

“Let me be clear - this is a frivolous lawsuit. David Glasheen and his campaign are trying to litigate this election at the courthouse.

It should surprise no one that I’m being sued. I am running against a lawsuit obsessed personal injury trial lawyer who has made a fortune suing the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center and small businesses across Lubbock County.” - Carl Tepper, Candidate HD 84

In the Republican primary for Texas House District 84, Carl Tepper and David Glasheen are headed to a May 24 runoff.

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