Friday, December 23, 2011


Because we all know endless lies will be put out about the latest Fifth Circuit court of appeals ruling concerning Antonio Juarez, I am forced to post the opinion so people can read it for themselves.

Here is the scoop - the court only made one legal ruling. They ruled that the Trustees do not have to engage in a formal vote to be sued for retaliation in regards to employment decisions. I support this ruling 100%. This ruling means everyone Presas-Garcia, Escobedo, Longoria and Saavedra retaliated against can now sue them and immunity will not apply.    Mary Rey's sworn testimony is all that is needed to raise a fact question to allow for the lawsuits against these four to move forward.

It also now allows a woman I know to sue Antonio Juarez, Pat Lehmann and Art Rendon for having her housing voucher suspended in retaliation for her successful TEA complaints against BISD when Art Rendon was in charge of Special Services. Legal aid was hesitant to file the lawsuit because they believed a formal vote was needed. No such vote is needed. I can only hope a Dallas law firm will now take the case.

The court on the greater issued dismissed the appeal for a want of jurisdiction. This was an interim appeal. Interim appeals can be taken on questions of law related to immunity. The court resolved that because a formal vote is not required immunity does not automatically apply. It was very clear in its holding that at this stage of the case the defendants have failed to establish the right to immunity. This means they can establish it at a later date.

The court was also clear it was resolving no fact questions, in that it had no jurisdiction over such matters. Fact questions must wait until after the trial and a formal appeal is taken.  The court made no findings of wrongdoing by anyone.  All they found was they have no jurisdiction to consider the evidence at this stage of the proceedings.
In the end only two things come of this opinion. the court of appeals made no findings concerning facts as established, and ruled as a matter of law trustees can be sued for informal decisions without there ever having been a formal vote.

On the question of law I am very happy with the court.

The bad news is, the current majority may now see a plethora of suits against them alleging informal decisions of retaliation. In the same way immunity does not apply to the current defendants it will not apply for Presas-Garcia, Longoria, Escobedo or Saavedra.

The other bad news is, every insurance company in the country will oppose the finding on the question of law. This will mean pressure on ACE insurance to seek another rehearing en banc and a possible appeal to the Supreme Court. It would not shock me if ACE manages to get BISD's current insurance company to file a brief in support of their position.

The other bad news is Thompson Horton is now in a mess. All of the other school districts they represent will oppose this opinion. They now have to decide, will they stand with the rest of their clientele or with the BISD majority.


Anonymous said...

Does this mean the opinion is good for the taxpayers of the school district because the board members will be more accountable?

Anonymous said...

Thompson Horton should have left BISD when they had a chance. Oh Well..............

Anonymous said...

Am I understanding correctly? Based on Mary Rey's statement,BISD personnel changes, demotions, or firings discussed by board members outside of the board room is cause for individual lawsuits? I want to hear that deposition again. There were specific names mentioned and also reference to relatives of previous board members. Sounds like a Pandora's Box in the works.

Anonymous said...

thank you for the update.

Anonymous said...

Great! Nice Christmas present for the fab four. Catch 22 Arturo!

BobbyWC said...

The opinion is good for accountability, but maybe bad for taxpayers - more suits means more tax money being spent on defending teh suits. In the short term it could cost us, but in the long run there will more accountability and the fewer lawsuits.

The problem with the opinion is obvious- the court did not address the issue of a prima facie case concerning complaints.

the opinion as it stands allows anyone to file a bogus complaint with any agency at the monent they find out they are about to be fired. This is wrong and if the prima facie argument is made in a motion for rehearing en banc I believe the court will agree that the plaintiff has to show a prima facie case that their complaint was valid in order to be able to sue under free speech.

This will not change a no formal vote requirement to sue - but if anyone can sue without first proving a prima facie case that their complaint was valid, then it will become impossible to fire anyone

Bobby WC