Appeals Court Says Dallas GOP Doesn't Have To Pay Legal Fees In Election Lawsuit

L.P. Phillips
August 27, 2019 - 1:32 pm
Appeals Court



DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - The 5th Court of Appeals says Dallas County Republicans do not have to pay the Dallas County Democratic party's legal fees in a 2018 elections lawsuit. 

In a split ruling the Court reversed a trial court judge and said the GOP does not have pay for Democratic Party lawyers in a suit over the 2018 ballot. 

The Republicans were on the losing end of the suit. It claimed most of the Dallas County Democratic candidates did not belong on the 2018 ballot. A judge awarded Democrats 55-thousand dollas in legal fees. 

In its ruling the appeals court noted the argument made by Democrats that "all such dismissals should carry feeshifting under that rule and invite us to be the first court to announce that result. We decline the invitation." the court said in its opinion.

Democratic Party attorney Randy Johnston says the matter is uncharged law. He say they may appeal that ruling to the Texas Supreme Court as a means of ending frivilous lawsuits that are only meant to irritate the other side.

"If you have to pay the other side's lawyers for a frivoulous lawsuit you are a lot less likely to file those kinds of lawsuits." said Johnston.

But any ruling would have to take into account a legal definition of the word "frivilous."

"The lawsuit is definitely not frivilous." said Elizabeth Alvarez, attorney for the Dallas County Republican Party. "I think that it's encouraged by negligent behavior."

The appeals court panel ruled 2-1 to deny the legal fees, with one of two Democratic Justices siding with a Republican. Should there be an appeal, the Texas Supreme Court is Republican-controlled.