State of Texas (Andy Lucas) Appeals Defeat to the Texas Supreme Court
Paul Harper won 3 times, Andy Lucas lost 3 times. The judgement on the Anti‐Slapp Motion to Dismiss was against the State of Texas. For whatever reason, Lucas wanted to continue to press his case. One factor may have been that he was able to use taxpayer money to pay for not only his own filings but the outside advice he got from more presumably experienced attorneys.
Lucas wasn’t quite ready to make it an official brief but requested 30 more days to presumably see if he could figure out some way to avoid taking responsibility for the case, and he couldn’t. All of that took another month. And, understand, one never knows for sure each time how the courts might rule.
And what about the money? If you’re not rich or at least well to do, do you even have money to spend on attorneys? Paul had to hire an attorney to fight the suit in the first place‐What the Amicus Brief said.
VI. The TCPA protects Texans from foundationless litigation, including lawsuits brought by the state Lawsuits can be brought in the name of State of Texas or its various political subdivisions by an army of different state actors. Take this case, for instance: it was filed initially by George Best, an individual resident of Somervell County, and has been carried forward by the Somervell county attorney, a public official representing 8,490 of the state’s residents, as of the 2010 United States Census. Other cases are brought by counties and cities, both large and small, and by state agencies through the attorney general, through private counsel, or through staff attorney. Like Comptroller Bullock in Bullock v. Sage Energy,
these state actors are not immune from engaging in unreasonable and frivolous actions simply because they are dressed in the sovereignty of the state. And unlike private litigants, who must fund foundationless litigation out of their own pockets, state actors have the ability to tap seemingly endless reserves of taxpayer funds in order to fund litigation against their political opponents.
The last day that Andy Lucas, as the State of Texas, could appeal the loss at the 10th court of appeals, to the Texas Supreme Court was August 26, 2016. I had gone to the Somervell County Commissioners Court meeting that day, and left the camera running after the meeting ended. I did that, not because of the case, but because I wondered why, after a meeting adjourned, there was still a quorum on the dais. However, interestingly, Ron Hankins attended this meeting, which, at least for the meetings I recorded, he didn't typically do. I want you to notice when you watch the people who stick around after the meeting, and after Danny Chambers gives a head nod, go out of the room with him. About an hour later, the appeal to the Texas Supreme Court was filed.
Going to remind again, because Ron Hankins was clearly part of this, that Ron Hankins is the one, although unknown at the time, who wrote up the original petition that Darrell Best used to go after Paul. Ron Hankins didn't want anyone to know he did this, at least not publicly. Did all the people in this meeting, including Danny Chambers, know that Hankins was actually the one behind all this trouble and violation of the rights of Paul?
As a side note, I had been informally told by a friend of mine that Judge Chambers was not going to let Lucas go to the Texas Supreme Court. Apparently he changed his mind, and that decision caused more attorney fees to rack up, as well as the prospect should the judgement go against the State of Texas again (and it did), taxpayers would pay it
Andy’s brief “Petitioner’s Brief on the Merits (Texas Supreme Court) filed on behalf
of the State of Texas” was filed 2/21/2017
His attorney argued that a removal petition is not subject to dismissal under the Citizens Participation Act and
again, that the State of Texas should not have to pay the judgement.
Mary H Barkley’s brief, “Respondent’s Brief on the Merits (Texas Supreme Court)
filed on behalf of Paul Harper was filed 3/13/2017
Andy’s reply brief (Texas Supreme Court)
Tried again to argue that somehow Lucas HAD to prosecute this case. Of course he did not and had said so when
asked by the justices of the 10th court of appeals in oral arguments
Texas Supreme Court asked both sides for briefs on why the case should not be moot.
Andy’s brief filed on 11/15/2017
Mary’s brief filed on 11/16/2017
Andy’s reply to Respondent Brief filed 11/20/2017
Amicus Letter filed by Cleve Doty 11/29/2017
Amicus letter‐ Clevel Doty
Freedom of Information Texas put in Amicus Brief 12/28/2017amicusbriefffoit17E.pdf
Even Empower Texas with which entity I share few political views
Oral Argument at the Texas Supreme Court
Andy Lucas hired an attorney to represent him at the Texas Supreme Court. As a side note, who paid for that? Somervell County taxpayers did.
Paul Harper Wins at Texas Supreme Court- Judgement Against the State of Texas
The Texas Supreme Court ruled in Harper's favor on 6/29/2018.
The Texas Supreme Court recognized and spoke about this harassment of Harper when they said, in their opinion
“In his original petition, Best sought Harper’s removal based on Best’s allegation that Harper “exhibited incompetency by way of gross ignorance of his official duties and gross carelessness in the discharge of those duties.” See id. § 87.011(2)(A)–(B) (“‘Incompetency’ means: (A) gross ignorance of official duties; (B) gross carelessness in the discharge of those duties . . . .”). Incompetency is a basis for removal under the removal statute, but it is not against the law. See id. § 87.013(a)(1). Similarly, while intoxication is also a basis for removal, and while 17 the town drunk might make a lousy official, being the town drunk is not against the law. See id. § 87.013(a)(3).
Best’s incompetency claims are a transparent retaliation against Harper’s quixotic political beliefs. Harper opposed the hospital district’s creation. He put his beliefs into action by running for office, and the voters of Somervell County elected him on a clearly stated anti-tax platform. Best’s petition alleges Harper did exactly what he told the voters he would do upon taking office. Harper’s detractors may disagree with his politics, but no law requires elected officials to support the status quo upon arriving in office. Best’s removal petition was a pretext for forcing Harper to cease acting on the beliefs that won him his office in the first place.
We are not fooled. We doubt anyone else is. Harper’s refusal to capitulate to Best’s demands does not render him incompetent. Best thought that the hospital district was important, and he sought Harper’s removal because he thought that Harper was setting the hospital up for failure, lacked candor, and sometimes communicated less
than cordially. Even if a jury agreed that Harper was unfit for office, he would face no criminal or civil penalty other than removal itself. Efforts like Best’s are attacks on core political speech. But the TCPA “protects citizens who petition or speak on matters of public concern from retaliatory lawsuits that seek to intimidate or silence them.” In re Lipsky, 460 S.W.3d 579, 584 (Tex. 2015) (orig. proceeding) (footnote omitted) (citing TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE §§ 27.001–.011). Since the incompetency allegations in Best’s petition seek to achieve Best’s political goals rather than to enforce a law, they cannot form the basis of an enforcement action for purposes of the TCPA. See TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE § 27.010(a).
… B. Disparaging the hospital and its administrators and directors.
Appellant argues in his brief that his wife is responsible for all of the meanspirited, hateful rants on the Somervell Salon blog disseminated to the public. The information depicted in the posts could only have come from Appellant because his wife was not personally present at the meeting from which these posts arose. (3 RR pp. 20-25). She relied solely on the information provided to her by Appellant when she accused the hospital administration of “breaking the law”, called the board president “a coward”, called another board member “a stuffed dog”, and asked “why would ANYONE want to ever do business with Glen Rose Medical
Center?” (CR pp. 10-11) (3 RR pp. 28-30).
Because no one can ever express an opinion based on what someone else tells them, or from watching a video, listening to an audio or reading pertinent documents. Seems that
someone had a thin skin about criticism. Maybe that person or those persons should think twice about running for public office.
State of Texas (Andy Lucas) Asks for Motion to Rehear on 7/20/2018
Motion to Rehear denied on December 2018. More than 4 years after the original lawsuit was filed.
Amicus Brief from Thomas Cowart 7/16/2018
8/23/2018 the Texas Attorney General’s office put in an Amicus Brief
Note the contradiction between what the AG had already said in a different case in which they cited Harper’s TCPA argument on the TOMA claim as not being an enforcement action.
Response to amicus brief 9/11/2018
Response to amicus brieflafond2eb
I. The state is not an amicus.
The State of Texas is no amicus in this matter. The State of Texas, represented by the Somervell County Attorney and additional outside counsel on appeal, has been a party to this case since it intervened to prosecute the removal suit against Harper and filed its own independent ground to support Harper’s removal. In fact, as stated in its Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition for Review filed with this Court on August 26, 2016, the Somervell County Attorney “requested the Texas Attorney General and the Office of the Solicitor General to review this matter.”
Thereafter, the Somervell County Attorney, and not the Texas Attorney General’s Office nor the Texas Solicitor General’s Office, continued to represent the state. The Texas Attorney General’s Office has been listed as an interested party and
submitted a prior “amicus” letter on November 29, 2017. In its prior letter brief, the Texas Attorney General’s Office did not address the immunity issues previously raised by the state. Rather, it argued that the “TCPA ‘enforcement action’ exception should include removal-from-office and civil-penalty actions by the State of Texas premised on a violation of substantive state law.” This Court’s opinion is consistent with that argument.
The state’s last minute attempt to re‐urge its immunity from suit defense under the guise of amicus should be denied.
Supplement to Thomas B Cowart amicus brief 10/9/2018