Judge slaps Texas for weak lawyering

June 19, 2014 

A federal judge on Thursday slapped Texas, smack across the face, for arrogant and ineffective lawyering in an attorneys fee dispute.

This is how U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer begins her 24-page decision.

“This matter presents a case study in how not to respond to a motion for attorney fees and costs,” Collyer wrote.

And for the Texas legal team, it only gets worse, as Collyer picked apart the arguments concerning the aftermath of a Voting Rights Act dispute. At issue was whether state Sen. Wendy Davis, and other “defendant-intervenors,” may recoup attorneys fees after prevailing in litigation before a three-judge panel. The Supreme Court later vacated that opinion following a different lawsuit that declared a section of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.

It’s a complicated question, which Collyer said Texas blew off in a three-page “advisory” rather than full-fledged arguments.

“Rather than engage the fee applicants, Plaintiff Texas basically ignores the arguments supporting an award of fees and costs,” Collyer writes, adding that the state “expresses indignation at having to respond at all, and presumes that the motion for attorney fees is so frivolous that Texas need not provide further briefing in opposition unless requested.”

Bottom line: Collyer said she would “award $466,680.36 to the Davis Intervenors, $597,715.60 to the Gonzales Intervenors and $32,374.05 to the Texas State Conference of NAACP Branches.”

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